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1) Semiconductor company Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) will be acquiring Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates (NASDAQ:VSEA) for $4.9 billion, or $63 per share, in order to hop on the high-tech mobile device bandwagon. Not too much drama with this deal: both boards agree, and the price represents a hefty 55 percent premium over the unaffected stock price. Varian’s specialty, ion implantation equipment, will provide Applied Materials with a better platform for mobile apps, as well as a possible door into the solar world.
2) What began as a mere rumor is now the real deal: ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) made a public $4.9 billion bid, or $86 per share, for Ralcorp Holdings (NYSE:RAH), which makes Post cereals and generic brands. Although the price represents a 32 percent premium over the unaffected stock price, Ralcorp promptly rejected the offer, and adopted a poison pill. Now, ConAgra may have to go hostile. This is the second rejection, as ConAgra made an unsolicited bid for Ralcorp at the end of March. The question now is, is Ralcorp really not going to sell? The firm’s zooming stock price says otherwise.
GE (NYSE:GE) is about to try again, and we hope this time it will succeed! The company plans to put its railcar leasing business on the auction block, which is the second time it’s tried in three years. Last time GATX Corp (NYSE:GMT) wanted to buy the business, but it hit some financing problems and the deal fell apart. The business could fetch as much as $3 billion. Why sell? GE wants to focus more on industrial businesses and ensure that GE Capital doesn’t represent such a huge portion of its revenues as it did before the financial crisis.
Here’s some more fashion news: we know that Puig will be acquiring a 60 percent share of Jean Paul Gaultier from Tuesday’s announcement, but yesterday we found out that in order to do this, Hermès (RMS.PA) will have to sell its 45 percent stake in Jean Paul Gaultier to Puig. The stake is worth about $24 million.
After delaying its IPO, Skype is rumored to be in discussions with Facebook and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). A couple of options are on the table: Facebook or Google may buy Skype, or enter into a joint venture that could be worth between $3 billion and $4 billion.
Warner Music Group (NYSE:WMG) may have a buyer! Russian investor Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries is close to making a $3 billion bid for Warner. While there are other bidders, and Warner’s board will meet today to choose the winning bid, Blavatnik is widely believed to be the primary contender, given that he served previously on its board and is close with the chairman.
Interact: Which deals do you think will get done? Which are just PR from hedge funds and traders? Let us know in the comments below …
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