M&A Weekly Recap: Facebook Snaps Up Instagram, IBM Buys Varicent Software

Monday

The bidding war for acquisition of Great Wolf Resort (NASDAQ:WOLF) continues, as private equity firm KSL Corp. ups its bid by 12 percent to $234 million, beating Apollo Global’s (NASDAQ:APO) offer of $225.7 million.

AT&T (NYSE:T) has sold AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive (combined 2011 revenue of $3.3 billion) to Cerebus in return for a 47 percent stake in the new Yellow Pages holdings and $950 million, $700 million of which will be in cash.

Facebook (FB), according to Mark Zuckerberg, is buying Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock, and comparisons to other acquisitions are showing up in numbers of tweets. One of them recalled that Yahoo bought Flickr seven years ago for a comparably tiny $35 million. Another points out that Instagram is worth $1 billion and is only a year and a half old, and that the New York Times Co. trades with a market cap of $949 million and is 116 years old.

Carl Icahn is in the news, once again taking Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN) to task. A few days ago Icahn scolded the drug producer for reportedly not accepting Bristol-Myers Squibb’s acquisition offer, and now he threatens to sue Amylin if it doesn’t extend its deadline for nominating members to its board. Further, he promises yet another suit if the company does not give him copies of its books by Wednesday.

Tuesday

eResearch Technology (ERT) is acquired by Genstar Capital for approximately $400 million, or $8 per share, which is a small premium over Monday’s closing price of $7.84.

The majority portion of Becton Dickinson’s (NYSE:BDX) Discovery Labware division will be purchased by Corning (NYSE:GLW), in a deal that the company says will reinforce its portfolio of life sciences products, and abet reaching its revenue target of $10 billion over the next few years. Corning will pay for the acquisition with $730 million in cash.

In a deal in which terms were undisclosed, Sara Lee (NYSE:SLE) has purchased Express Coffee of Brazil. The acquisition “substantially expands” the branding and consumer connection platform of the Pilao coffee brand in Brazil, according to Sara Lee.

Gene-sequencing firm Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) has picked up more support in its resistance to Roche’s (RHHBY.PK) hostile takeover attempt: proxy adviser Glass Lewis recommends that shareholders support Illumina’s board in its proxy fight, joining ISS and Egan-Jones. For its part, the company says that it appreciates having the three notable shareholder advisers alongside in its fight.

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Wednesday

Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO) shares took off, as reports surface that the travel site company might offer itself to such industry luminaries as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Podio, which developed a platform for building cloud-based business collaboration apps centered around Facebook-like activity streams, is being purchased by Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS). The latter company plans to join its own GoTo line of collaboration tools, which rivals offerings from Microsoft, IBM, and others, with Podio’s solutions, which support both PCs and mobile devices.

A bidding war for Avon (NYSE:AVP) might be imminent, as Richmont Holdings is said by Fortune to be assembling a bid to challenge that of Coty. John Rochon, the founder of Richmont, was once CEO of Mary Kay, and from that position led an attempted takeover of rival Avon in the 1980s and 1990s.

Watson Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:WPI) is said by Reuters to be preparing the announcement of an acquisition agreement of Swiss-based Actavis, which combination would create one of the world’s largest producers of generic drugs, and would help it compete more effectively against rivals such as Teva and Novartis’ unit Sandoz. The deal will cost Watson around 6 billion , and is expected to close by the end of the current month.

Thursday

Perhaps as a part of brewing majors’ current strategies of igniting growth via acquisitions in emerging markets, AB InBev (NYSE:BUD) tops the list of bidders for the maker of Presidente beer, Cervecería Nacional Dominicana. The Wall Street Journal says that the company might be valued at $2.5 billion, a price in-line with Molson Coors’ $3.5 billion purchase of Eastern Europe’s StarBev.

Micron’s (NASDAQ:MU) convertible note offering for Elpida is thought by Oppenheimer to boast that it has “money in the bank”: “If the $870 million offering represents all that Micron has to fork over and respective governments retire Elpida and Rexchip debts or Micron puts in a bid together with other cash sources, we could warm up to it. Otherwise, it is more money into the DRAM drain.”

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Safeway (NYSE:SWY) has been named as a ‘beneficiary of industry consolidation’ by SA author Takeover Analyst, and rumors that the grocery chain is ripe for takeover are flying, cause shares to do the same.

Cytec Industries’ (NYSE:CYT) announcement that it is buying composite materials company Umeco for $434 million, sends its shares up. In addition, Cytec forecasts that the acquisition will add earnings per share accretion of about $0.20 per share in the current year and $0.65 a share in 2013.

Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) purchases AisleBuyer, which should enable the linkup of the former’s GoPayment credit-card processing platform, which competes with Square and PayPal, and AisleBuyer’s solution, which is comprised of a mobile shopping and self-checkout device that relies on smartphone apps.

The Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) vs. Roche (RHHBY.PK) takeover saga continues Thursday, as ILUM shares dip below Roche’s most recent offer of $51. Illumina investors seem to be more worried that the acquisition might be abandoned, as the company has twice turned Roche down. Roche said Thursday that its offer is “more than adequate to serve as a basis” to start talks and “is full, fair and extremely attractive by every conceivable financial metric”.

Friday

IBM (NYSE:IBM) acquires Varicent Software in a move that the company believes will reinforce its current software products, delivered to clients through on-premise or cloud computing models. Figures regarding the purchase were not reported.

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Shares of RF Monolithics (NASDAQ:RFMI) are popping following word that it will allow Murata Manufacturing (MRAAY.PK), the wold’s leader in passive electronic components, to acquire it. The deal is priced at $1.78 a share, which constitutes a premium of 80 percent premium over Thursday’s closing price.

Perhaps inspired (or encouraged) by the recent AOL-Microsoft arrangement, MIPS Technologies (NASDAQ:MIPS) is planning to allow itself to be bought. Analyst Craig Hallum priases the timing, and calculates that MIPS’ impressive IP portfolio could bring a posh bonus of $10 to $14 to the table.

Tibco Software (NASDAQ:TIBX) buys private equity LogLogic for $130 million, in a move the firm hopes will increase its repertoire of operational intelligence. LogLogic produces scalable log and security management platforms crafted specifically for the enterprise and cloud.

Facebook (FB) has snapped up TagTile, which developed a smartphone-based loyalty card program, after acquiring Instagram earlier in the week. From FB’s explanation, it could be that TagTile was bought for its engineers, even though the purchase occurred the same day that FB introduces Offers, which is a service that enables businesses to post deals and promotions on user’s news feeds.

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