Unstructured Finance

M & A wrap: Citi scores big with EMI deals

The music industry may have a bit of life left in it after all. At least that’s the impression one is left with this week after Citigroup scored a better-than-expected $4.1 billion from two deals that mark the end of a months-long auction to sell off the parts of 114-year-old British music company EMI Group.

Vivendi’s Universal Music Group and Sony won the auction for EMI’s recorded music and music publishing operations, trumping bids by archrivals Warner Music Group and BMG Music Publishing at the 11th hour, reports Peter Lauria, editor-in-charge of Technology, Media and Telecommunications at Reuters. Universal plans to buy EMI’s recorded-music unit for $1.9 billion, according to a source involved in the process, snagging the rights to music by artists such as Coldplay, the Beatles and Katy Perry in the deal.  A consortia led by Sony is expected to buy EMI’s publishing operation for $2.2 billion.

MF Global’s liquidators are struggling to sell the Asian business as one concern because of problems unwinding trading positions, so they may now sell the various country units separately, report Reuters correspondents Rachel Armstrong and Bruce Hextall. The provisional liquidators for the business in Hong Kong said on Friday there had been a number of encouraging bids for the regional business as a whole but the exercise has proved increasingly complex and the focus is now on selling off the various Asian business units individually.

U.S. coal giant Peabody Energy extended its $5 billion bid for Australia’s Macarthur Coal by two weeks after failing to reach the 90 percent threshold for acceptances by its Friday deadline, reports Sydney-based correspondent Lincoln Feast. Peabody’s acquisition of Macarthur will give it control of the world’s top producer of pulverized coal, just at a time when demand for steel-making materials holds up in Australia’s key coal market, China.

Companies in Greater China are lining up to sell shares in initial public offerings in coming months, braving jittery markets with $11.2 billion in deals, reports Hong Kong-based Elzio Barreto. Issuers are betting the steep rebound in Hong Kong and Chinese markets in the past month might signal renewed appetite for offerings that would provide funding for expansion and takeovers.

Deals wrap: China’s shortcut to Wall Street

A examination of a cross-section of 122 Chinese reverse mergers on U.S. markets found that between each stock’s peak trading price and July 10, 2011, those companies saw a total of $18 billion of their market capitalization vanish. Reuters is exploring the extent and impact of corporate secrecy in the United States in a series of articles.

Expect more hostile deals in resources as cashed-up miners turn desperate to snare targets, deal advisers say, following Peabody Energy and ArcelorMittal’s change of tack this week on their $5.3 billion bid for Macarthur Coal.

Private equity and venture capital-backed initial public offerings in Asia have surged 77 percent in the year to date to the highest level ever, according to the latest Thomson Reuters data, as funds look to show returns to investors ahead of new fundraisings.

Deals wrap: Express Scripts’ CEO steps into the spotlight

For a self-described nerdy accountant who shuns attention, Express Scripts chief George Paz just thrust himself into the limelight, reports Lewis Krauskopf. The company’s planned buy of Medco Health Solutions  met with swift opposition from consumer advocates and drug stores, signaling the beginning of what could be an ugly fight for antitrust approval.

Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, Sony Music Entertainment and Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group are among the music companies and private equity firms interested in buying EMI Group, people familiar with the situation said.

Apple is in early talks to join the bidding for Hulu, the online video site that Walt Disney Co, News Corp and its other owners have put up for sale, Bloomberg cited two unidentified sources as saying.

Deals du Jour

Cars dominate headlines again, with a GM bankruptcy looming and Chrysler CEO Nardelli saying he expects a deal with Fiat on Friday. In other news, Chartered Semiconductor denies a newspaper report that Advance Technology Investment has bid for Temasek’s majority stake in the firm. For today’s headlines, click here.

And here is what we found of interest in newspapers:

Credit Suisse has begun a plan to sell its London property estate and raise up to 500 million pounds ($800 million), the Financial Times reported.

Terra Firma has been forced to inject more cash into EMI after the debt-laden UK music group missed targets imposed in banking covenants, the Financial Times said. The Wall Street Journal separately said Terra Firma had put up an additional 28 million pounds to bail out EMI.

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