Unstructured Finance

M & A wrap: Bidders emerge for HSBC unit

European insurers Allianz and AXA are among the potential bidders for HSBC’s sale of its general insurance business, which could fetch more than $1 billion, sources said.

Spain’s ruling Socialists abruptly shelved plans to boost public coffers by selling part of the lucrative state lottery, in the face of tough market conditions, political opposition and banks’ funding concerns.

Interest in the London Metal Exchange as a takeover target has snowballed and the number of suitors has risen to double digits because business is booming with volumes at record levels, its chief executive Martin Abbott said.

“In the age of globalization, with a slowdown in developed economies, emerging markets — once considered the final frontier — are beginning to bear fruit for those patient investors and firms,” reports the NYT in a series of articles.

“Companies canceled or postponed $8.9 billion in initial public offerings in the third quarter as stocks plunged, putting the market on pace to set a record for pulled deals,” reports Bloomberg.

M & A wrap: China’s grim IPO market

Weak pricing for Citic Securities’ Hong Kong share sale and a soft Shanghai debut for Great Wall Motor showed greater China’s IPO markets, while still open, are buckling in the face of economic uncertainty and hefty supply.

French insurer AXA confirmed it is exploring the possible sale of its private equity unit, adding that there is no guarantee that the process will lead to a transaction.

“The outlook for mergers and acquisitions probably will be good over the next two or three years as corporations cast off caution to foster growth, said Steven Baronoff, head of M&A at Bank of America Corp,” Bloomberg reports.

M & A wrap: What’s Buffett saying about the price of stocks?

“Warren Buffett’s determination that Berkshire Hathaway shares are cheap enough to buy back may mean the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is also a bargain,” reports Bloomberg.

London Stock Exchange head Xavier Rolet has won the backing of LCH.Clearnet’s board for his planned $1.3 billion takeover of Europe’s largest independent clearing house, a source familiar with the situation said.

In the year since United Airlines and Continental Airlines merged business has been surprisingly rosy. But things may become difficult in the coming months as the new United tries to clear three tall hurdles: new labor contracts, a new reservations system and government approvals, reports the WSJ.

M & A wrap: Has Buffett run out of things to buy?

Warren Buffett’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway said it will launch a share buyback program, an extremely rare move from Buffett that comes after months of investor complaints that the stock was undervalued.

The London Metal Exchange has thrown open its doors to a potential $1.5 billion takeover and is considering a sale that might end the independence its chief executive previously said was not negotiable.

A move by Sinohydro, China’s largest builder of dams, to cut the size of an initial public offering in Shanghai bodes ill for other mainland IPOs in the pipeline as a deepening debt crisis in Europe rattles global markets.

M & A wrap: Deal activity slows

Mergers and acquisitions slowed significantly in the third quarter, stymied by economic uncertainty that stifled the confidence and growth horizons of corporate executives, according to Wall Street dealmakers. Go to the Global Deals Review: Q3 2011 page for full coverage.

At least seven firms, mainly private equity, have shown interest in data and analytics company CoreLogic, attracted by its growth businesses and relatively cheap valuations. Might it be sold whole or in pieces?

The WSJ gets analysts’ opinion on the fate of HP’s PC division.

Yahoo’s board is not looking for a new CEO, they want to chop up the company and sell off the parts, reports Business Insider.

M & A wrap: Dream team hired to save T-Mobile deal

AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile USA have amassed an army of former senior government antitrust officials to try to save their $39 billion deal to combine wireless businesses.

“While Hewlett-Packard directors deliberate over the potential dismissal of the tech giant’s chief executive, Léo Apotheker, the board is expected to also consider what will become of his two biggest initiatives: a big acquisition and a potential spinoff of its PC business,” the NYT reports.

United Technologies has reached a $16.5 billion cash deal to acquire aircraft components maker Goodrich. The deal comes as blue-chip United Tech looks to cash in on the upswing in plane orders and production as declining global spending on defense pressures its military business.  The WSJ gets analysts’ reaction to the deal.

Envy, desire and basis points

I would like to tell you a story. It’s one about the tempestuous relationship between fund managers and their investors, a tale of envy, desire and basis point negotiations. You may have spotted by now that this is not the plot for this season’s latest blockbuster.

My story has recently gained a little extra spice with two old-fashioned heroes riding into view. One from the West – Omaha - and the other from the East - well, his father hailed from Russia – with both willing to make a little less money in order to help their fellow citizens. Warren Buffett and Stuart Rose are not alone; others in France and Germany are also saddling up. These horsemen seem to be heading in the opposite direction from those in the European funds industry.

There is one aspect that I’d like to look at to explore this: the fees generated by funds in relation to their assets. And in this case Europe and the US look pretty different.

Luke Ellis: 2011 volatility is no repeat of hedge funds’ tough 2008

Guest blogger Luke Ellis is head of the multi-manager business at Man Group, the world’s largest listed hedge fund manager.

The views expressed here are entirely the author’s own and do not constitute Reuters’ point of view.

The late summer’s toxic blend of sovereign debt solvency fears and slowing economic growth wrong-footed some of the biggest and best-known hedge funds. So it would seem natural to assume that August was a terrible month for hedge funds generally – just as it was for the equity markets.

M & A wrap: SABMiller seals Foster’s deal

SABMiller agreed to buy Foster’s for an increased price of A$5.10 a share valuing the Australian beermaker at $10.2 billion and putting SABMiller at the head of Australia’s beer market.

“Google’s critics get a chance to vent today, using the invective of antitrust. A hearing of the Senate antitrust subcommittee is also something of a swan song for its retiring chairman, the estimable Herb Kohl,” the WSJ said in an opinion piece.

ConAgra’s failed bid for Ralcorp provides the WSJ with a good opportunity to look back at some failed bids that, in hindsight, now seem like a pretty good deal.

M & A wrap: Stepping into China

Private equity firms, like Richard Ong’s RRJ Capital, are stepping into China where hedge funds once roamed, pursuing deals that look more like short term financing than long term growth bets.

Rising buyouts between China and Japan, abundant leveraged debt in the region and the depth of China’s markets mean Asia-Pacific private equity will continue to outperform the Western model, leading Asia fund managers said.

Warren Buffett’s new manager will see higher taxes and get less pay at his new job, reports the NYT.

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