Zynga and 31 Stocks Making Deal Buzz This Week

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Here’s your Cheat Sheet to this week’s top mergers and acquisition news:

Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA): Closing price $3.60

Shares of the largest maker of online social games touched their highest price since July on chatter it could be acquired by Yahoo. at 11:15 a.m. in New York, the stocks had risen by 7.9 percent to $3.85, after earlier hitting $3.90. Shares had advanced 51 percent in 2013 through March 8, compared with a 9.1 percent gain for the Russell 1000 Index. Analyst Blake Harper at Wunderlich Securities wrote in a research report Monday that Yahoo might consider buying Zynga as Chief Executive Marissa Mayer searches out acquisitions to reinforce the company’s mobile and social capabilities. Since Mayer came upon the scene, Yahoo has ceded market share in its core business of display advertising amid mounting competition from Google and Facebook.

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ZNGA

Aurizon Mines (AMEX:AZK): Closing price $4.36

The company’s board announced Monday that it has adopted a new shareholder rights plan to ensure equal treatment for all shareholders in regards to any transaction to purchase control of Aurizon. Worries concerning potential unequal treatment of the shareholders have emerged due to the March 6 waiver by Alamos Gold of the 66.66 percent minimum tender condition to its unsolicited take-over bid.

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AZK

The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX): Closing price $20.85

A buyer for the Australian poultry producer Inghams Enterprises is expected to be chosen within days subsequent to at least four bids being made ahead of a Thursday deadline, say sources to The Wall Street Journal. Separate offers were made by Blackstone Group, TPG, and a consortium led by Chinese agribusiness New Hope Group, which includes an unnamed Australian private equity firm.

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BX

Dominion Resources (NYSE:D): Closing price $56.75

The firm reported Monday that it will divest three merchant generation power stations to a subsidiary of funds controlled by Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm with offices in Short Hills, New Jersey, and San Diego. The sale should close in the second quarter.

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D

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The Carlyle Group (NYSE:CG): Current price $30.18

Carlyle and KKR & Co are among the firms to have made first round bids  to purchase a minority interest in Thai Life Insurance Co in a deal that might be worth around $500 million, according to inside sources, who related that the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd has also made an offer, while the growth behind Asia’s insurance industry has charged deal making across the sector. Increasing personal income in Asia is enabling. For the first time in some instances, individuals and families to afford insurance, and the new demand has boosted stock prices and corporate valuations, resulting in a larger number of M&A transactions.

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CG

Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE:LYG): Current price $3.03

Lloyds should garner a gain of 400 million pounds from the divestiture of part of its interest in St. James’s Place, while lenders in the United Kingdom are being pressed by regulators to reinforce their capital. Britain’s largest mortgage lender, which will keep 37 percent of St. James’s Place, sold 102 million shares, realizing a gain at the upper end of its projection of 350 million to 400 million pounds, according to a statement released on Tuesday. The shares went for 510 pence apiece.

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LYG

 Dell (NASDAQ:DELL): Current price $14.28

On Monday, Dell consented to allow Carl Icahn a confidential peep at its books, raising the possibility that he might submit an offer to counter the $13.65-a-share bid from founder Michael Dell and private-equity shop Silver Lake Partners. However, the buyout group is gambling that he won’t place a bid before March 22, when the “go-shop” period ends for other bidders to emerge, as an inside source says that the partners do not intend to sweeten their offer, and view Icahn as an interloper bent on lining his pockets.

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DELL

Apollo Global Management (NASDAQ:APO): Current price $22.42

Hostess Brands announced Monday that its snack-cake unit would be sold to the private equity firms Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co since no other bids were received, which eliminates the need for an auction. In January, the winning firms bid $410 million for the division, which includes Twinkies, Cup Cakes, and Suzy Q’s.

The offer by the private equity firms for the baker was intended to serve as the minimum offer, which others could have surpassed in an auction. Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo had been seen as a possible candidate but no other bids emerged.
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APO

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD): Current price $177.72

Inside sources say that LinkedIn will acquire the maker of the newsreader app Pulse. The purchase price is said to be in the tens of millions, probably between $50 million and $100 million. Kara Swisher reported Monday that a deal was in the works, with Microsoft and Yahoo also engaged in the discussions.

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LNKD

Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC): Current price $75.84

The firm announced Monday that it will purchase the remaining 70 percent interest of Exego Group, headquartered in Melbourne, for a total  price of roughly $800 million, including the assumption of certain debt. Subject to the satisfaction of the usual closing conditions and applicable regulatory approvals, the acquisition should close on April 1st.

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GPC

Cadence Design Systems (NASDAQ:CDNS): Current price $13.92

The company announced that it will acquire Tensilica, a firm in data plane processing IP, for about $380 million in cash. Tensilica had around $30 million of cash as of December 31st. The purchase will broaden Cadence’s IP portfolio, with Tensilica providing configurable data plane processing units that are optimized for embedded data and signal processing aimed at mobile wireless, network infrastructure, auto infotainment, and home applications.

Are these stocks a buy or sell? Let us help you decide. Check out our Stock Picker Newsletter now.

CDNS

Simcere Pharmaceutical Group (NYSE:SCR): Current price $8.98

Simcere’s board has received a non-binding proposal letter from a potential buyer group comprised of Jinsheng Ren, New Good Management Limited, Assure Ahead Investments Limited and its affiliates, which proposes to acquire all outstanding ordinary shares of the firm not currently owned, at $9.56 per American depositary share or $4.78 per ordinary shares in cash. New Good Management Limited is a British Virgin Islands company controlled by Jinsheng Ren who is its chairman. Simcere is pharmaceutical firm specializing in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of branded and proprietary pharmaceuticals in China.

Are these stocks a buy or sell? Let us help you decide. Check out our Stock Picker Newsletter now.

SCR

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Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT): Current price $72.54

Wal-Mart’s United Kingdom supermarket group Asda is said to be mulling a possible offer for the failed music chain HMV, while the first series of stores get ready to shut down, according to The Guardian. HMV collapsed into administration in January with over 1,500 workers losing their jobs and another 1,500 waiting to see. However, it is also said that Asda has conducted discussions with administrators from Deloitte about saving the brand as opposed to converting the sites into convenience stores such as Morrisons, which acquired six sites to turn into its M local stores. Thus far, Asda has a small presence in the convenience store market, which is presently dominated by Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

WMT

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BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY): Current price $14.99

Les Echos might have reported that Lenovo group is thinking about making an offer for the Canadian smartphone mogul BlackBerry, but the former says that it has not made any move to assess the firm as an acquisition. Lenovo spokesman Brion Tingler declared in a Wednesday e-mail that “There is not and has not been any specific evaluation or activity underway regarding BlackBerry.” The latter’s shares jumped by 14 percent on Monday after the French newspaper quoted Lenovo Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing as commenting that  a deal “could possibly make sense, but first I need to analyze the market.”

BBRY

 Suntech Power Holdings Co. (NYSE:STP): Current price $0.81

Suntech, which is one of the biggest manufacturers of solar panels on earth, is almost depleted of cash and is ready to be taken over partially or fully by the municipal government’s holding company in its hometown of Wuxi, China, according to solar industry executives and a Wuxi official on Wednesday. An unofficial spokeswoman in the executive offices of the group headquarters of the holding company Wuxi Guolian, said that an agreement had already been reached for the purchase of Suntech, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The company has been pushed to the edge by an obligation to pay in excess of $541 million to holders of convertible bonds at the end of this week.

STP

eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY): Current price $50.48

On Wednesday, PayPal announced that it has purchased the mobile application developer Duff Research, as part of an endeavor by the online payment company to become more nimble and tech-focused. No financials details were disclosed. Duff Research has built around 40 mobile apps for firms that include TiVo and Adidas; the company’s 18 employees, including co-founder Geoff Chatterton, will join PayPal.

EBAY

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG): Current price $814.93

This week, Google purchased the Canadian neural networks startup DNNresearch, which is a three-person team working out of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. Financials of the transaction were not reported. All three members of the team will be employed by Google along with continuing their research at the university. DNNresearch was incorporated in 2012 by university professor Geoffrey Hinton and two of his graduate students, Alex Krizhevsky and Ilya Sutskever. Google appears to have pulled off an “acqui-hire” in this case.

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GOOG

Shire (NASDAQ:SHPG): Current price $92.03

Shire has acquired the privately held biotech firm Premacure of Uppsala, Sweden, which develops a protein replacement therapy, currently in Phase II development,  for the prevention of retinopathy of prematurity. The condition is a rare and potentially blinding eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants and is one of the most common causes of visual loss in childhood. Presently, only symptomatic treatment is available. Shire will purchase Premacure for an upfront payment and certain contingent payments calculated on the achievement of pre-specified development and commercial milestones. This purchase underscores and broadens Shire’s commitment to bringing innovative therapies to patients with rare disorders worldwide.

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SHPG

Advent Software (NASDAQ:ADVS): Current price $28.87

The accounting software company is exploring a sale and has recruited Frank Quattrone’s investment bank Qatalyst Partners to spearhead the endeavor, said inside sources on Tuesday. Advent shares popped on the news and were up by 11 percent in late afternoon trading in New York, giving the firm a market value at almost $1.5 billion. The sources reported that thus far Advent has enticed interest primarily from private equity firms and that the process is in the second round of bidding.

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ADVS

Complete Genomics (NASDAQ:GNOM): Current price $3.15

BGI-Shenzhen and Complete Genomics announced Tuesday that they have obtained permission from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange of the People’s Republic of China concerning BGI’s proposed purchase of the former, through the previously reported agreement and plan of merger. Therefore, all relevant regulatory approvals in connection with the proposed acquisition have been received.

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GNOM

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Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT): Current price $66.86

Target said Wednesday that it has completed the divestiture of its entire consumer credit card portfolio to TD Bank Group at a price of $5.7 billion, representing the gross value of the outstanding receivables at the time of closing. The parties have entered into a seven-year program arrangement through which TD will also underwrite, fund and own future Target Credit Card and Target Visa receivables in the United States. Also through the program agreement, TD will oversee risk management policies and monitor regulatory compliance, while Target will continue to perform account servicing functions.

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TGT

IPG Photonics Corporation (NASDAQ: IPGP): Current price $63.42

IGP Photonics acquires privately-held Mobius Photonics, to step up its move into the UV laser market and intensify its development team. Mobius supplies high-power pulsed UV fiber lasers for micromachining, such as dicing and scribing of wafers, and VIA drilling and and solar hybrid panel processing.

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IPGP

PH Glatfelter Co. (NYSE:GLT): Current price $21.85

Glatfelter will acquire Dresden Papier GmbH from Fortress Paper for roughly $209 million and that the purchase should be immediately accretive to earnings per share by about 25 cents on an annualized basis. Glatfelter plans to fund the acquisition through a combination of cash on hand and debt. The proposed transaction is subject to the usual closing conditions, including receipt of German and Ukrainian regulatory approvals and should close during the second quarter.

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GLT

Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE:OCN): Current price $39.41

Ally Bank will divest its portfolio of agency mortgage servicing rights to Ocwen Financial in a transaction valued at almost $585 million. The agreement includes the transfer of representation and warranty liabilities connected with majority of the loans sold. President and Chief Executive Barbara Yastine of Ally said that the sale will permit the bank to invest all available resources in direct banking franchise, while focusing on customer-centric deposit activities. Approval from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is still required, but the transaction is thought likely to conclude in stages over the next several months.

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OCN

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The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW): Current price $33.79

On Thursday, Dow announced additional moves to step up its ongoing commitment to aggressive portfolio management, as described at its Investor Forum in December. Resulting from thorough, continuing portfolio reviews, Dow is aiming at an increased divestiture list of almost $1.5 billion during the next 18 months. Beyond that, the company has identified two divisions that will be actively marketed for a sale: Dow’s Polypropylene Licensing and Catalysts business, and its Plastics Additives business unit.

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DOW

ENI (NYSE:E): Current price $47.57

The Italian oil major said Thursday that it will divest 28.6 percent of its subsidiary Eni East Africa, which owns the Area 4 natural gas field in Mozambique, to China National Petroleum Corp. at a price of $4.21 billion. Following the transaction, CNPC will hold a 20 percent interest in the Area 4 field, with ENI owner of 50 percent. Remaining shares in the Area 4 field are held by Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos de Moçambique, Kogas and Galp Energia, each controlling 10 percent. ENI commented in a statement that “CNPC’s entrance into Area 4 is strategically important for the project thanks to the worldwide relevance of the new partner in the upstream and downstream sectors.”

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E

ORBCOMM (NASDAQ:ORBC): Current price $5.02

The company has reached an agreement with System Planning Corporation through which to purchase virtually all of the assets of its GlobalTrak unit, which is an information services firm that utilizes satellite and cellular communications networks, sensors, and proprietary software platforms to supply real-time situational awareness and intelligence to improve logistics and security processes and operations worldwide. GlobalTrak’s customer base includes military, international, government, and commercial customers. The press release did not mention financial details but said that the transaction should close in the second quarter. The buyer is a global satellite data communications firm specializing in Machine-to-Machine communications and solutions.

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ORBC

Home Loan Servicing Solutions (NASDAQ:HLSS): Current price $24.06

The company announced that on March 13, HLSS and HLSS Holdings, LLC completed a purchase from Ocwen Financial Corporation and its affiliates and subsidiaries of rights to receive servicing fees along with related servicing advances for a servicing portfolio of subprime and Alt-A residential mortgage loans. This transaction resulted in the acquisition of rights to MSRs with about $15.9 billion in unpaid principal balance of mortgage loans. The transaction should be accretive to earnings, according to the firm.

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HLSS

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AT&T (NYSE:T): Current price $36.39

AT&T appears to be considering the sale of a number of its peripheral assets, including wireless towers, which, if realized, would allow the carrier more of a financial cushion, say analysts. “We’ve seen others in the industry sell noncore assets, and if we wanted additional flexibility, that could be an option for us too,” Brad Burns said in an interview. “In all cases, our decisions are driven by what’s right for the company and for our shareowners. So in that sense, nothing’s off the table.” The comments follow similar speculation by analysts. Jonathan Atkin at RBC Capital Markets figues that finding a buyer for the assets could bring around $5 billion in cash, based on the value of similar transactions by T-Mobile USA and some other firms.

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T

IBM (NYSE:IBM): Current price $214.61

IBM is reportedly among the parties in discussion to acquire the privately held database web hosting firm SoftLayer Technologies in a deal that could bring in excess of $2 billion, according to three inside sources, who also said that the latter has hired Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) to conduct the sale process. SoftLayer’s sale process was originally prompted by one of its customers, AT&T, which approached the firm seeking exclusive talks. However, the telecom is no longer involved in the process.

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IBM

DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) Current price $55.06

Company spokesman Darris Gringeri announced that DirecTV has withdrawn from the auction process for Vivendi’s Brazilian phone and Internet division, GVT, thus forgoing an option to add more services in South America. The satellite TV provider had submitted a preliminary offer for GVT in November. Chief Executive Michael White commented in January at an investor conference that GVT was a “nice-to-have, not a must-have.”

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DTV

Vale (NYSE:VALE): Current price $12.58

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE:BAC) has been employed by Brazil’s Vale to help it divest minority stakes in two Australian coal assets. Vale is the biggest iron ore producer in the world and is searching out partners to invest in two of its undeveloped coal deposits, including the Belvedere project in Queensland state.

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BAC

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