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Will Au’s Dump Cause M&A Activity?

“The collapse in bullion prices is set to rekindle gold mining takeovers as Chinese companies, sovereign wealth funds and private equity and hedge funds step in to rescue cash-strapped small and mid-sized miners.

Gold miners in China, the world’s biggest producer, have been chasing mines and listed companies in a bid to grow and match the largest global producers, like Barrick Gold.

A seven-fold rise in gold prices between 2001 and 2011 spurred a run of goldmergers and acquisitions. Activity fell last year as major miners digested some big buys and smaller players held out for better offers, with global gold M&A tumbling to $14.6 billion from $43.3 billion in 2011, according to Ernst & Young.

But that is expected to pick up again this year as a 15 percent plunge in gold prices this month forces smaller miners, especially those with high-cost production or single assets, to seek partners to stave off a cash crunch.

“This might be the final shoe to drop that makes some people think ‘there’s no way I’m able to finance myself going forward, so I’ve got to think more seriously about my investors and give my investors a return by putting things together with people that have … got the cash,’ ” John McGloin, executive chairman of Africa-focused minerAmara Mining, told Reuters….”

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Softbank Bids for $S, Bidding War Begins

Many publications and analysts are expecting more bidders to come to the table to buy out $S.

The most Recent offer comes from Softbank allowing shareholders to keep more stock with a lower bid price…..

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$DISH Offers $25.5 Billion for $S


“NEW YORK (AP) — Dish Network is offering to buy Sprint Nextel Corp. in a cash-and-stock deal it values at $25.5 billion, saying its bid is superior to that of Japanese phone company SoftBank.

Sprint’s stock jumped in premarket trading Monday.

Dish, an Englewood, Colo. satellite television company, said that its transaction includes $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock.

Sprint stockholders would receive $7 per share, which is a 13 percent premium to its Friday closing price of $6.22. This includes $4.76 per share in cash and 0.05953 Dish shares per Sprint share.

Softbank is seeking approval from U.S. authorities for its $20 billion purchase of a 70 percent stake in Sprint Nextel Corp. that would be Japan’s biggest foreign acquisition ever.

Dish Network Corp. said that its offer is a 13 percent premium to the existing SoftBank proposal.”

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$FB Acquires Mobile Software Startup Osmeta

“While Facebook is building out a bolder role in mobile in the form of Facebook Home, it looks like it is also continuing to make acquisitions that will help bolster that strategy overall. We have learned that in the lead-up to the launch last week, the social network appears to have quietly picked up Osmeta, a Mountain View-based mobile software startup. Osmeta had yet to launch a commercial product, and it is not completely clear at this point if this is an acqui-hire or a technology deal as well.

We have reached out to Facebook for a comment and will update this post if we hear back. Update: A Facebook spokesperson has now confirmed the acquisition, with no further comment. Original story continues below.

This is what we’ve been able to piece together:

– Osmeta has been around since August 2011. It was co-founded by Google/IBM alum Amit Singh, and IBM alum Mark Smith, and it had 17 employees — all engineers. It’s “about” page describes a team of “world-renowned hackers and highly accomplished researchers capable of herculean software engineering.” In addition to Google and IBM Research, other past employers included Yahoo Research, VMware and Facebook.

– A number of employees who had listed Osmeta as a place of employment are now indicating that they work at Facebook on their LinkedIn profiles. One of them specifically notes that he moved to Facebook after it acquired Osmeta in March 2013.

osmeta to facebook linkedin

– The company had yet to publicly launch a product, but….”

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$PL to Buy Axa’s U.S. Life Insurance Portfolio for $1.1 Billion

“(Reuters) – Protective Life Corp agreed to buy a portfolio of old policies from French insurer AXA SA’s U.S. business for $1.1 billion, with the aim of squeezing more value out of them.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Protective Life said the deal with Axa’s Mony Life Insurance Companyshould produce a steady income stream and increase earnings per share. Most of the policies are life insurance written before 2004.

AXA, which bought Mony in 2004 for $1.5 billion, will take a capital loss of below 100 million euros ($131 million), in part attributable to the difference between what it paid for the business initially and what it is being sold for now.

Last month, people familiar with the situation said Protective Life was the leading candidate to buy U.S. life insurance assets from Axa, which has been expanding into emerging markets while scaling back its presence in North America after years of underperformance in that region.

AXA said on Thursday it would continue to use Mony Life to write new business in the United States.

“This transaction allows us to further grow our US business where we have been achieving good momentum while freeing up capital invested in closed portfolios to improve our financial flexibility and enable additional investment in high-growth markets and businesses,” AXA Chief Executive Henri de Castries said in a statement.

AXA shares were up 1.2 percent at 3.38 a.m ET, outperforming the European insurance sector <.sxip>, which was up 0.4 percent.

The transaction values the portfolio at 0.7 times its book value, a premium to AXA’s own book value, a Paris-based analyst said. AXA trades at 0.6 times book, according to Thomson Reuters data….”

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Deutsche Telekom Sweetens MetroPCS Bid by Cutting Debt

Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) sweetened the debt terms of an October proposal to merge its T-Mobile USA unit with MetroPCS Communications Inc. (PCS) to placate shareholders.

Under what it called a “best and final offer,” Deutsche Telekom cut the amount of debt it’s imposing on the combined company by $3.8 billion, according to a statement from the Bonn- based company yesterday. The carrier also lowered the interest rate it plans to charge on the loan by half a percentage point.

The transaction has faced opposition from investor-advisory firms and some of MetroPCS’s largest shareholders, who were concerned the new company would be loaded with too much debt, threatening to scuttle Deutsche Telekom’s second attempt to sell T-Mobile in as many years. MetroPCS agreed to delay a shareholder vote to April 24 on the new terms, which would cut the loans to $11.2 billion from $15 billion.

“This puts the new company under less pressure and gives them more strategic flexibility,” said Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with New Street Research LLP in New York. With less of a debt burden, the new company can more easily afford to make network investments and acquire more wireless airwaves, he said.

Deutsche Telekom also extended the lockup period during which it’s barred from publicly selling shares in the combined company. The time frame will now be 18 months, up from six. That may reassure investors that the German company doesn’t plan to cut and run….”

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$FSLR Melts Up on Acquisition Announcement and Better Guidance

Usually the company doing the buying has a soft price, but $FSLR is vaulting higher on news they will buy a start up that saves nearly 21% compared to conventional production methods.

Upgrading guidance also played a hand in today’s massive move.


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$GE to Buy $LUFK for $3.3 Billion

“(Reuters) – General Electric Co said it will buy oilfield services provider Lufkin Industries Inc for about $3.3 billion to expand its oil and gas business.

The offer values Lufkin at $88.50 per share, representing a premium of 38 percent to the stock’s Friday close. Lufkin shares rose to $87.97 in premarket trading.

Lufkin, which makes artificial lift technologies and industrial equipment, has operations in the United States, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe….”

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Michael Dell Said to Consider Blackstone LBO Only With CEO Guarantee

Dell Inc. (DELL) founder Michael Dell will only consider backing a buyout by Blackstone Group LP (BX) if the private-equity firm guarantees he can remain as chief executive officer, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

In several recent meetings in Austin, Texas, with Chinh Chu and David Johnson — the Blackstone executives overseeing the firm’s bid — Michael Dell said he would be more likely to support their proposal if he retained an influential role, a second person familiar with the talks said. Negotiations are ongoing and the two sides may not reach an understanding….”

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March Madness Goes Ghost for M&A

“While the proposed takeovers of Dell Inc. (DELL) and H.J. Heinz Co. dominated headlines in the first quarter, global dealmaking stumbled, with March on track to be the worst month for mergers in more than three years.

Takeovers fell 4.4 percent from a year ago and 36 percent from the previous quarter to more than $461 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of March 27. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A)’s $23 billion purchase of Heinz and the $24.4 billion buyout of Dell Inc. (DELL) in February failed to spark a rally in March, when mergers shrank to $100 billion, on track for the worst month since 2009.

Concern about U.S. spending cuts, leadership changes inChina and persistent sovereign debt problems in Europe are weighing on executive confidence, said Mark Shafir, global co- head of mergers and acquisitions at New York-based Citigroup Inc. (C) Still, record cash piles and global equity markets at an almost five-year high are pushing more companies to weigh acquisitions to lock in growth before interest rates rise.

“There is still a lot of hesitancy among corporates to do big deals,” said Henrik Aslaksen, global head of M&A at Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank AG. (DBK) “There is a psychological barrier, but there is no doubt that the dialogue and intensity are increasing.” …”

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$YHOO Picks Up Summly News Gathering Start-up, 15 Year Old Entrepeneur Says “HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW !”

Yahoo has acquired the mobile news gathering start-up Summly, the company announced Monday.

Summly is a mobile reader app that presents summarized news stories in a simple browsing format. While the application was originally created in 2011 by 15-year-old Nick D’Aloisio, the app didn’t officially launch until last November.

The app aims to give readers a “snapshot” of a story on their mobile device so that users can consume content in a quick manner. Basically, the app uses an algorithm to condense the story to a size that fits the screen of the users’ mobile device, so that the user doesn’t have to scroll to continue reading…”

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Deloitte Said to Being in Talks to Purchase Germany’s Roland Berger


“FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Deloitte is in advanced talks to buy Germany’s Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said in its Tuesday edition without citing sources.

The paper said Roland Berger Strategy Consultants is said to have informed its 250 partners about the planned sale adding that other accounting firms were also interested in bidding for the German consulting firm.

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Deloitte, which is one of the world’s largest accounting firms, were not immediately available for comment.”

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$BX & Ichan Offer Up Rival Bids for $DELL

Blackstone Group LP (BX) and activist investor Carl Icahn submitted proposals to buy Dell Inc. (DELL) that would rival a $24.4 billion buyout offer from Silver Lake Management LLC and company founder Michael Dell, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Blackstone, the world’s biggest private-equity firm, outlined an offer valued at $13.65 to $14.50 a share, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Icahn said he’d pay $15 a share, with a cap on the amount of cash used in the deal, two people said.

The proposals present unexpectedly serious challenges to Michael Dell’s effort to take private the Round Rock, Texas- based company he founded in 1984 as it struggles with competition from smart phones and tablets. The transaction’s strengths include the founder’s participation and his decision to roll over his 15.6 percent stake to help finance the purchase. It’s also rare for one private-equity firm to seek to break up another’s deal.

Now, Dell’s board probably will conclude in the next few days that both proposals are reasonably likely to be superior, said one of the people. Under terms of the original Feb. 5 merger agreement with Silver Lake, the board would then take time to determine whether the counteroffers are superior. At that point Silver Lake and Michael Dell, which offered $13.65 a share, would have three days to top them.

Too Cheap…”

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Nelson Peltz Takes a Position in $PEP & $MDLZ, Investors Expect a Merger

“(Reuters) – Shares in top U.S. packaged food companies Mondelez International Inc and PepsiCo Incjumped on Friday on speculation that they could merge, after a report that activist investor Nelson Peltz has taken stakes in each.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported that Peltz had spent $2 billion on shares of the companies through his investment vehicle, Trian Fund Management. The paper speculated that Peltz could then push for a merger of the two companies.

The often speculated-upon marriage between PepsiCo and Mondelez would bring together salty snacks like Doritos and Tostitos with sweets like Cadbury chocolate and Oreo cookies. The resulting behemoth would have more than $100 billion in revenue and $20 billion of operating earnings per year.

A deal would also reunite Mondelez Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld with Frito-Lay, which she ran for two years before taking the reins at Kraft in 2006.

A spokeswoman for Trian declined to comment on the report. Spokesmen for PepsiCo and Mondelez declined to comment on “rumor or speculation” regarding any Trian stake, though both indicated the companies were happy with where they were now.

“We’re satisfied with the portfolio where it stands today,” said a Mondelez spokesman.

“We are making strong progress in our strategy to deliver long-term growth and create shareholder value,” said a PepsiCo spokesman. “We do not see the need for any large scale M&A.” …”

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$ACRP To Buy Cole Credit Property Trust for $5.7B

“(Reuters) – Real estate investment trust American Realty Capital Properties Inc said it offered to buy unlisted Cole Credit Property Trust III Inc for $5.7 billion in cash and stock to create the largest publicly traded REIT in the net lease sector.

The offer is valued at more than $9 billion including debt, American Realty Capital said in a statement on Wednesday.

Net lease is an agreement where the tenant pays property taxes, building insurance and maintenance in addition to rent. Such properties are usually rented out for commercial purposes to retailers, supermarkets and restaurants.

American Realty Capital asked the trust to call off its planned acquisition of its external adviser, Cole Holdings Corp, saying its offer would provide immediate liquidity to Cole Credit shareholders.

American Realty Capital said it had earlier expressed interest in the company but was surprised not to have received any response….”

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Judge OKs Hostess’s Twinkies, Ding Dongs Sale

“(Reuters) – Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread may soon be back in stores after a bankruptcy court judge on Tuesday approved sales of several iconic brands that had been owned by the failedHostess Brands Inc.

Buyout firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co teamed up for Hostess’s snack cake brands, paying $410 million for Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs and Donnettes.

Flowers Food Inc, which makes Tastykakes snacks, picked up most of Hostess’s bread business, including its Wonder and Nature’s Pride brands for $360 million. The No. 2 U.S. baking company also bought 20 bakeries and other operations.

The Beefsteak brand of bread was sold for $31.9 million to Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V., the world’s largest bread maker. Bimbo already owns Entenmann’s cakes, Arnold bread and Thomas’ English Muffins.

Hostess also said on Tuesday that United States Bakery had the winning bid in the March 15 auction for its remaining bread brands: Eddy’s, Standish Farms and Grandma Emilie’s. United States Bakery agreed to pay $30.9 million.

Hostess filed for bankruptcy last year and gave up on its plans to emerge from bankruptcy in November, blaming a strike by its bakers union for its failure to emerge from Chapter 11.

The bakers union said in a statement on Tuesday its members would be “indispensable partners” in restarting the former Hostess facilities and getting the products back into stores.

The money raised from the sales will be used to pay off Hostess’s creditors, which the company said totaled $1.43 billion when it filed for bankruptcy….”

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$WAG To Acquire a Piece of $ABC

“DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Walgreen is expanding its supply agreement with AmerisourceBergenthrough a 10-year deal that gives the nation’s largest drugstore chain an ownership stake in thepharmaceutical wholesaler.

Walgreen Co. says AmerisourceBergen Corp. will replace primarily Cardinal Health Inc. in supplying it with pharmaceuticals. Previously, AmerisourceBergen had supplied only some specialty drugs for Walgreen, which operates more than 8,000 drugstores….”

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$WAG’s Earnings rise 11% 

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The FCC Approves T-Mobile Metro PCS Merger

Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE)’s proposal to combine its T-Mobile USA unit with smallerMetroPCS Communications Inc. (PCS) won approval from U.S. competition and telecommunications authorities.

Allowing the fourth- and fifth-largest U.S. wireless carriers to combine will benefit American consumers as the mobile market continues to strengthen, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Benefits include more high-speed wireless service, the agency said in an order.

The combination is unlikely to harm consumers, and may help T-Mobile become a stronger competitor, the Justice Department said in an e-mailed news release announcing it had closed its investigation into the deal.

“The FCC’s approval marks another significant milestone in bringing our two companies together,” John Legere, president of T-Mobile, said in an e-mailed statement. “We look forward to completing the transaction.”

The proposed combination needs approval of shareholders who are to meet on April 12, according to the statement. It urged shareholders to throw out white proxy cards distributed by “a dissident stockholder” and vote for the deal. Failure to vote has the same effect as voting against the combination, according to the statement.

Company Debt…”

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Carl Ichan Tries to Enter a Confidentiality Agreement With Dell


“(Reuters) – Icahn Enterprises LP said it had entered into a confidentiality agreement with Dell Inc, and looked forward to commencing a review of the company.

Carl Icahn, who has a reputation for demanding changes after amassing stakes in companies, argued in a letter to Dell’s board last week that the proposed $24.4 billion buyout of Dell by co-founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners short-changed shareholders, undervalued the company and benefited mainly the company’s co-founder.”

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KKR Acquires $GDI for $3.9 Billion


“(Reuters) – Private equity firm KKR & Co LP (KKR.N) will buy industrial machinery maker Gardner Denver Inc (GDI.N) for $3.9 billion including debt.

The offer values Gardner Denver at $76 per share, a premium of 3 percent to the stock’s Thursday closing price.

It is 39 percent above what the stock was trading at in late October when the company said it was exploring a sale.”

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