Unstructured Finance

Deals wrap: Singapore Exchange’s ASX bid in trouble

Singapore Exchange (SGX) Chief Executive Officer Magnus Bocker (R) talks as Australia's ASX Ltd Managing Director and CEO Robert Elstone listens during a media briefing in central Sydney October 25, 2010. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz Consolidation in the Asian exchanges industry hit a roadblock on Tuesday when Australia said it intends to reject Singapore Exchange’s proposed $7.8 billion bid for Australia’s ASX on “national interest” grounds.

Although a final decision has yet to be made, share moves hinted that the market doubts the deal can be salvaged. All eyes will now be on other major exchange deals awaiting approval from regulators and politicians.

Texas Instruments is buying National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion, paying a hefty 78 percent premium to merge two of the industry’s oldest firms into a dominant force in analog microchips.

It’s another spotlight-grabbing win for veteran deal advisor Frank Quattrone, whose boutique investment bank advised National Semiconductor on the sale.

Google’s M&A machine may be slowing down after years of going full throttle as it finds itself in antitrust limbo, argues Reuters Breakingviews columnist Rob Cox

Deals wrap: GM’s market splash

A GMC vehicle is seen parked in front of a trader standing outside of the New York Stock Exchange November 18, 2010.REUTERS/Shannon StapletonGeneral Motors has raised billions of dollars in its IPO, but big investors still have plenty of cash on hand to plow into other new stock issues — if they have merit.

General Motors’ swift journey from dying company to blockbuster IPO is a remarkable story, which the Democrats received little political credit for.

One of the first signs General Motors was driving toward a record-setting IPO with booming demand from investors came from an unlikely indicator: a sudden shortage of chocolate mousse at an investor meeting.

Deals wrap: Turning down Sanofi

A sign points the way to the headquarters of Genzyme in Cambridge, Massachusetts August 3, 2010.    REUTERS/Brian Snyder   Genzyme broke its five-week silence to reject an $18.5 billion takeover proposal by French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis, dismissing it as opportunistic and too low. *View article *View Genzyme’s letter to Sanofi-Aventis

Intel will buy Infineon’s wireless unit for $1.4 billion, enabling the chipmaker to boost its presence in the smartphone market. This is the second major deal for Intel within two weeks after the company announced its $7.7 billion offer for McAfee on Aug 19. *View article

Is Cisco in deal talks with Skype? A TechCrunch source says Cisco has made an offer for the Internet phone services provider. Earlier this month, Skype filed for an IPO. *View article

Quattrone brings “emo” back in dealmaking

rtripsrThe Financial Times’ Richard Waters does a profile of Frank Quattrone in Thursday’s paper, pegging the return of Silicon Valley’s “most prominent banker” to the ongoing Data Domain-EMC-NetApp saga. Quattrone’s firm Qatalyst Partners is the sole adviser to Data Domain, the specialty storage technology company that is the target of competing bids from East Coast storage giant EMC, and its smaller Valley rival, NetApp.

Now, EMC’s Chief Executive Joe Tucci has not hesitated to publicly spell out why his company is playing spoiler in the NetApp-Data Domain deal. When EMC announced its $30-a-share, all-cash bid on June 1 — gatecrashing a cozy agreement where NetApp agreed to buy Data Domain for $25 a share, or about $1.5 billion — Tucci said he was surprised that Data Domain didn’t give his company the chance to bid before announcing the deal. “Particularly since I believe you should have been aware of our interest,” Tucci said, which as Reuters reported a few days later, meant that EMC had talked to Data Domain several times about business combinations, including an acquisition.

So why did Data Domain not run the usual process that a company wanting to sell itself follows? Typically, a company will use its bankers, board members and other top executives to discreetly spread the word. Word has it has Sun Microsystems’ bankers began sending feelers out in the fall of 2008, months before any real negotiations with IBM, Oracle and HP happened. Companies usually run this informal process to solicit expressions of interest so that all potential buyers have a chance to participate before a deal is finalized and announced publicly. Also, they want to avoid “public food fights,” as one tech banker I spoke to described it — nasty EMC-style aggression initiated by potential buyers who feel they were left out.

An offer Data Domain can’t refuse

rtr1wratWho knew EMC was a gatecrasher? Two weeks after NetApp announced plans to acquire Data Domain for $1.5 billion, the storage giant barged in with a higher offer and spoiled NetApp’s party.

EMC has always coveted Data Domain, which makes technology that removes redundant data as it is backed up, saving companies costly storage space. EMC CEO Joe Tucci said as much yesterday, complaining that Data Domain didn’t even give EMC a chance to bid for the assets before tying up with NetApp.

Hence, the aggressive move, supported by the $30 a share, all-cash offer that analysts say Data Domain would find tough to refuse.