M&A Weekly Recap: Berkshire Hathaway Loves News, Zynga’s Wild Needle

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Monday

Shares of TII Network Technologies (NASDAQ:TIII), which supplies network products for the communications industry, rose in early trading following word that it will be bought by Kelta Inc. The price of the transaction is $2.15 per share, which represents a 48 percent bonus over Friday’s closing price.

Although Loewe denies the rumor, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is said to be in discussions with that company, which is a German producer of high-end TVs and speakers that feature minimalist designs, for its acquisition. The bid, according to a source, will be $112 million, which would come to a 47 percent windfall over Loewe’s Friday close on the Frankfurt exchange (with shares up 24.6 percent on Monday). A further connective link is that Sharp, which owns 28.8 percent of Loewe’s, recently received an investment from Foxconn, whose chairman recently reported that his company expects to produce an Apple TV. A final decision on the above possible acquisition could come this week.

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Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is still on its shopping spree for companies, as it buys Wild Needle, which develops casual game titles targeted at female game-players. Financials of the transaction were not disclosed, and chatter has it that the deal was an “acqui-hire”, in that Zynga might be more interested in Wild Needle’s engineering talent than in its products.

Shares of BMC Software (NASDAQ:BMC) move up significantly on word of Elliott Associates’ investment of at least 5 percent, and BMC’s adoption of a poison pill in reaction. Investors note that Elliott did the same moves on Novell and Blue Coat Systems, before they were sold; and JG Capital’s Jeff Gaggin predicts that Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) will make a bid for BMC, to set itself in a better position in which to compete more effectively with IBM in systems management software. In the meantime, BMC’s competitor Quest Software (NASDAQ:QSFT) is currently available for acquisition.

 

Tuesday

ING’s (NYSE:ING) Asian asset management division is reported to have a list of suitors, that include Macquarie Group (MQBKY.PK), Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG) and Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOVEF.PK), for a potential transaction that could be worth between $500 million and $600 million.

The Avon (NYSE:AVP) – Coty soap opera airs another episode, as the latter withdrew overnight its offer of $10.7 billion for the former. Avon shares cratered Tuesday with the news.

Further Reading: Did Avon Make A Huge Mistake Rejecting Coty Bid?

If Hertz Global (NYSE:HTZ) wants to acquire Dollar Thrifty (NYSE:DTG), analysts calculate that it might have to cough up a minimum of $85 per share. Two years ago in a previous bid, DTG’s price was $41 a share, but since then the firm has been generating better margins, and saying out loud that it prefers to stay independent.

Shares of biotech company Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN) are way up Tuesday following word that as many as seven companies want to buy it. Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) and Merck (NYSE:MRK) are thought to be the top contenders by Leerink Swann analysts, who forecast a mid-$30s per share sale, but the figure could go higher in the event of a bidding war.

DuPont (NYSE:DD) is divesting its car paint division, and is narrowing the list of suitors to four: Apollo (NASDAQ:APO), a Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and Bain consortium, Carlyle (NYSE:CG), and a KKR (NYSE:KKR) and Onex consortium. The final transaction could bring as much as $4 billion, says a Reuters report.

 

Wednesday

CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) and Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) remain in the running to acquire the London Metal Exchange, but NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) is no longer, after its reported bid of £800 million was rejected as insufficient.

AT&T (NYSE:T) and U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM) are purchasing spectrum from cable operator Cox, for $304 million; the former’s share will cover 8 states, and the latter’s 5. AT&T is currently seeking new airwave buys following the failure of the T-Mobile deal, alongside the spectrum transfer that was part of AT&T’s breakup fee. The that end, the firm is said to have been in discussions to acquire Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), and possibly an offer for Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) as well.

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A possible initial public offering by Coty this summer, which would value it in a range between $6 billion and $7 billion, could well explain the withdrawal of its bid to buy Avon (NYSE:AVP). CNBC reports that Coty has chosen underwriters for the IPO, which dashes rumors (hopes?) that its bid pullback for Avon was just a negotiating tactic.

German utility E.ON (EONGY.PK) divests its natural gas transmission grid to a consortium led by the Australian bank Macquarie (MQBKY.PK) for the price of €3.2 billion, or $4.07billion, in a move designed to reduce its debt amid a weak domestic electricity market. For its part, the buyer will obtain a network that comprises approximately 70 percent of Germany’s total annual shipping volume.

 

Thursday

Agilent (NYSE:A) is purchasing the Denmark-based cancer diagnostic company Dako from Swedish private equity company EQT, for $2.2 billion. The acquired company posted sales of $340 million in 2010, and provides employment for around 1,000 people. Agilent believes that the purchase will reinforce its presence in life sciences and also its revenues. The deal is expected to be complete in 60 days and to become accretive immediately.

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA) purchases the major portion of Media General’s (NYSE:MEG) newspapers for $142 million, and also makes a 19.9 percent investment in the company, which will provide MEG a $400 million term loan and a $45 million revolving credit line. Subsequently, Media’s shares surge (to put it mildly) on the news. The acquisition includes 63 daily and weekly publications in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, but the flagship Tampa Tribune was not part of the deal.

China-based oil and gas software provider Pansoft (NASDAQ:PSOF) allows itself to be taken private at $4.15 per share in cash, and shares pop in reaction. Acquiring the firm is Timesway Group Ltd., controlled by Chairman Hugh Wang and CEO Guoqiang Lin.

Investing Insights: Will Facebook Measure Up to These Internet Titan IPOs?

Friday

Shares of Nucor (NYSE:NUE) move down a bit following late Thursday’s announcement that it will purchase the membership interests of Skyline Steel LLC and its subsidiaries from ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) for around $605 million. The move is vertical, as Skyline has distributed Nucor’s piling products for more than two decades.

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El Paso Corp. (NYSE:EP) will sell its Cheyenne Plains Pipeline and additional interest in Colorado Interstate Gas, to El Paso Pipeline Partners (NYSE:EPB) for $635 million and the assumption of approximately $242 million of proportional debt. The deal is projected to close at the same time as Kinder Morgan’s purchase of EP, and should be immediately accretive to distributable cash flow.

Winnebago (NYSE:WGO) shares pop Friday, following a Bloomberg report that private equity North Street is making an $11 per share bid for the company.

Shares of online retail firm Bidz.com (NASDAQ:BIDZ) swell by more than 50 percent after signing a merger deal with Glendon Group, that will take it private. The sale will be for 78 cents a share, on a stock that once traded for $20.

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