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Glencore Agrees $6.15 Billion Deal for Canada’s Viterra

Glencore International Plc (GLEN), the largest publicly traded commodity supplier, agreed to buyViterra Inc. (VT) for C$6.1 billion ($6.15 billion) to add grain assets in Canada and Australia.

Glencore will pay C$16.25 a share, the two companies said in a statement today. Glencore agreed the deal in partnership with Agrium Inc. (AGU) and Richardson International Ltd., which will buy the majority of Viterra’s Canadian and other assets for about C$2.6 billion in cash, according to the statement….”

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UPS Ups its Offer to Buy TNT Express for $6.8 Billion

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) raised its offer for TNT Express NV (TNTE) by 5.6 percent to 5.16 billion euros ($6.8 billion) to secure the biggest deal in the U.S. company’s 105-year history and challenge Deutsche Post AG.

UPS will pay 9.50 euros a share in cash for the region’s second-largest express delivery company, up from a bid last month of 9 euros per share and 54 percent higher than the closing price Feb. 16, the day before the talks were made public, the companies said in a joint statement today.

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Cisco Offers $5 Billion for NDS To Boost Digital TV Software Division

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), the largest maker of equipment for computer networks, agreed to buy NDS Group Ltd. (NNDS) in a deal valued at about $5 billion to add software used in next-generation video services.

The purchase price includes debt and retention-based incentives, San Jose (GSJ), California-based Cisco said in a statement today. The boards of both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to regulatory review and will be completed in the second half of 2012, it said.

NDS, which makes software for paid-television channels used by British Sky Broadcasting Corp., Canal Plus and DirecTV (DTV), is co-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and London private- equity firm Permira Advisers LLP….”

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Zoll Medical Offered $2.2 Billion To Sell to Japan’s Asahi Kasei

“TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Asahi Kasei Corp will buy U.S. medical equipment maker Zoll Medical Corp for $2.21 billion as it looks to build a globally competitive healthcare business and reduce its reliance on its chemicals and fibers operations.

Asahi Kasei will buy Zoll in an agreed cash deal for $93 a share, a 24 percent premium to Zoll’s closing price on Friday, the two companies said in a joint statement. The deal is Asahi Kasei’s biggest acquisition by far.

The transaction, which adds to about $200 billion that Japanese firms have spent on overseas acquisitions in the past four years, is expected to close in the second quarter, the companies said. Asahi Kasei said it will finance the deal with loans.

Asahi Kasei derives more than half its sales from its chemicals and fibers businesses and almost a third from homes and construction materials. Combined, those businesses generate close to 90 percent of operating income….”

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Molly Corp to Acquire Neo Material for $1.3 Billion Loonies

Molycorp Inc. (MCP), owner of the largest rare-earth deposit outside of China, agreed to buy Canada’s Neo Material Technologies Inc. (NEM) for about C$1.3 billion ($1.3 billion) to increase Chinese sales and gain technology used to make magnets.

Investors will get C$8.05 in cash and 0.122 of a Molycorp share for each Neo share, Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Molycorp said in a statement yesterday. The offer is equal to C$11.19 a share based on yesterday’s closing price, representing a premium of 40 percent.

Molycorp, which held an initial public offering in 2010 to fund the restart of a California rare-earth mine, will get Toronto-based Neo’s processing factories. It also will obtain Neo’s patented Magnequench range of metal powders used to make neodymium-iron-boron magnets, which can be found in electronic motors and sensors.

The deal “puts the upstream and the downstream together in a very significant way,” Molycorp Chief Executive Officer Mark Smith said in a telephone interview. “This acquisition allows Molycorp to access 100 percent of the demand in the world now.”

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The London Stock Exchange Buys a Major Stake in LCH Clearnet Group Ltd.

London Stock Exchange Group Plc (LSE) rallied the most in more than eight months after agreeing to buy a majority stake in LCH.Clearnet Group Ltd. for 463 million euros ($613 million) to expand its post-trade services.

Shares in the owner of Europe’s oldest independent bourse climbed 8.9 percent to 977.50 pence at 12:08 p.m. in London trading, the biggest increase since June 30, valuing the exchange at 2.65 billion pounds ($4.2 billion)…..”

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Exclusive: Netflix in Talks for Cable Partnership

By Yinka Adegoke and Lisa Richwine

Tue Mar 6, 2012 6:03pm EST

(Reuters) – Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings has quietly met with some of the largest U.S. cable companies in recent weeks to discuss adding the online movie streaming service to their cable offerings, according to sources familiar with matter.

In what would ratchet up its competition with HBO, the talks could lead to Netflix becoming available as another on-demand option for cable subscribers through their set-top boxes, according to three people familiar with the talks. If a partnership came to fruition, a cable operator might offer Netflix as an additional option added onto a subscriber’s cable bill, according to a fourth person.

Any partnership would be a major about-face for many in the traditional cable industry who had initially seen Netflix as a threat to their $100 billion-a-year business.

Hastings has strongly hinted at investor conferences in recent weeks about the possibility of Netflix one day being a cable channel rival to premium networks like Time Warner Inc’s HBO.

“It’s not in the short term, but it’s in the natural direction for us in the long term,” said Hastings, speaking at an investor conference last week. “Many (cable service providers) would like to have a competitor to HBO, and they would bid us off of HBO.”

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Peugeot May Sell 7% Stake to GM in Alliance

PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) may announce as soon as this week plans to sell a stake of about 7 percent in the French carmaker to General Motors Co. (GM) as part of a development alliance, people familiar with the matter said.

The deal would involve a standstill agreement by which GM would not take a greater holding in the Paris-based carmaker without permission, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Peugeot may offer additional shares through a rights issue as part of the transaction, the people said.

A GM-Peugeot alliance may include developing engines and building vehicles together in the region, a person familiar said last week. GM, the world’s largest carmaker, is looking for ways to turn around its unprofitable Opel brand, while Peugeot is seeking to stem a growing debt load. Peugeot and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) began cooperating on engines for the German carmaker’s Mini brand in 2002, expanding the partnership with a 100 million-euro hybrid joint venture last year….”

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Apollo Group Mgt. Agrees to Buy El Paso’s Oil & Gas Unit for $7.15 Billion

“A group led by Apollo Global Management LLC agreed to acquire El Paso Corp. (EP)’s oil and natural gas exploration business for $7.15 billion in the second-biggest private equity takeover of an energy producer.

Apollo joins Riverstone Holdings LLC, Access Industries Inc. and other investors in the transaction, El Paso said in a statement today. Riverstone, based in New York, invests in the energy and power industries, and Access is the New York-based firm founded by Russian-born investor Len Blavatnik.

The deal is on par with KKR & Co. (KKR)’s $7.2 billion takeover of Samson Investment Co. last year. El Paso’s assets are attractive because of their acreage in the Niobrara field in Coloradoand the Eagle Ford and Wolfcamp fields in Texas, which produce more profitable oil and natural gas liquids such as propane and butane, said Raymond James & Associates’ Darren Horowitz.

“All of those areas are, I think, the right place at the right time,” said the Houston-based analyst, who rates Kinder Morgan an “outperform” and doesn’t own the stock….”

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Alibaba Offers $2.5 Billion to Go Private

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (ALIBABZ), in talks to buy back a stake owned by Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), offered as much as HK$19.6 billion ($2.5 billion) to privatize a listed unit and gain full control of China’s biggest corporate e-commerce site.

The company bid HK$13.50 a share for the 27 percent of Alibaba.com Ltd. (1688) it doesn’t already own, according to a Hong Kong Stock Exchange statement today. That’s a 46 percent premium to the last closing price.

Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma may take over the listed unit and purchase the Yahoo stake as he tries to turn around the company after a fraud scandal and drop in subscriptions. Alibaba.com today reported quarterly profit that missed estimates and predicted that vendor growth would slow….”

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The CME Is Suspected of Bidding for the London Metals Exchange; NYSE Said to Be Interested too

CME Group Inc. (CME) has made a bid for the London Metal Exchange as the world’s largest metals futures market plans a meeting next week to consider offers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The price CME Group offered wasn’t disclosed, said the person, who declined to be identified because negotiations are private. A purchase of the LME by Chicago-based CME Group would add to its metals that trade through the Comex, where futures based on gold, silver and copper are traded.

LME’s board will review the bids in a Feb. 23 meeting. LME Chief Executive Officer Martin Abbott had set Feb. 15 as a deadline for takeover bids that will be reviewed by a special committee. NYSE Euronext (NYX) submitted an expression of interest in the LME, another person familiar with the matter said.

The main obstacle to any deal may be regulatory approval after the European Union earlier this month rejected the proposed merger ofDeutsche Boerse AG (DB1) and NYSE Euronext. In the past 15 months, $37 billion in proposed exchange industry takeovers failed.

The LME is considering ending its independence after record trading volumes attracted multiple bidders for the exchange that handles about 80 percent of global trade in metals futures. It may be valued at $1.3 billion, according to Diego Perfumo, an exchanges analyst at Equity Research Desk, a hedge-fund adviser in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Possible Buyers

Other bidders for the LME may include Deutsche Boerse, IntercontinentalExchange, and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd., according to Perfumo…”

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Alibaba.com Said to Be Taking the Company Private

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (ALIBABZ) plans to privatize its Alibaba.com Ltd. (1688) unit in a deal that may value the Hong Kong-listed company at as much as $8.7 billion, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

China’s biggest e-commerce company, which owns more than 72 percent of Alibaba.com, may offer a price close to the HK$13.50 a share at which the stock was sold in a 2007 initial public offering, one person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. That’s 55 percent above Alibaba.com’ 20-day moving averagethrough Feb. 8, after which its shares were suspended.

At the IPO price, buying the 28 percent it doesn’t already own will cost Alibaba Group about $2.4 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. John Spelich, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Alibaba Group, declined to comment.

Hong Kong Economic Times reported yesterday that Alibaba Group may offer HK$13.50 a share, citing people it didn’t identify.

The privatization is being planned with Alibaba.com’s shares down 44 percent in the 12 months before trading was halted. The IPO was priced a day before the Hang Seng Index climbed to a record on Oct. 30, 2007. Since then, the index has dropped 32 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg….”

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