M&A Weekly Recap: Microsoft Picks Up Yammer, Glencore Ready to Run From Xstrata Deal

Monday

To the surprise of no observer, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) is revealed as the “strategic bidder” that just made a $27.50 per share offer for Quest Software (NASDAQ:QSFT), according to Reuters. Quest shares have moved up considerably on Monday.

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Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) shares plummet once again, following a stern Morgan Stanley downgrade, and despite the firm’s hiring of JPMorgan and RBC for help in the evaluation of “strategic alternatives”. Further, RIM is said to be thinking about conducting a major sale of assets, and possibly changing its business model, as well as restating its commitment to a current turnaround plan. But the chronic selloffs seem to accentuate the Street’s attitude towards maybe too many plans at once, none of which resonate.

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Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) nears an agreement to purchase the Mexican brewing company Grupo Modelo for more than $12 billion, while shares of rival SABMiller (SBMRY.PK) tumble in London. The likely acquisition would also provide a closer relationship between BUD and Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), which is in a joint distribution venture with Modelo. BUD shares were halted for a time Monday, but later moved up a bit; the company has said, however, that speculation that the deal is finalized is premature.

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It’s official: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has acquired Yammer for $1.2 billion, in an all-cash transaction. Public relations reports that Yammer has more than 5 million corporate users, and speculates that Yammer’s enterprise social networking platform will complement SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics, and Skype.

Tuesday

It looks like a July 1st merger date for Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) and Progress Energy (NYSE:PGN), as the firms announced Monday that they have agreed to the conditions required by Federal regulators. If it goes through, the value of the merger is believed to be about $13.7 billion.

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SBA Communications (NASDAQ:SBAC) intends to purchase 3,252 mobile phone tower sites in the United States and Puerto Rico, from private equity TowerCo at a price of approximately $1.45 billion, of which $1.2 billion will be in cash with the remainder in shares.

Shares of News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) move up substantially Tuesday, on chatter that company could soon be split in two. Rupert Murdoch might be contemplating such a move, says Ian Whittaker of Liberum Capital, so that News Corp. freed of its publishing unit, could make another go at British Sky Broadcasting (BSYBY.PK),

Thursday

Loral Space & Communications (NASDAQ:LORL) is divesting its satellite manufacturing division Space Systems/Loral to Canada’s MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates, at a price tag of $875 million. In addition, the former should receive dividends and other payments from the buyer, amounting to more than $135 million, as it expects to use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders. As a result of the announcement, shares of LORL pop, as do shares of the buyer in Toronto.

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Shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) climb due to the ripple effect of its proposed purchase of Grupo Modelo filters through the market. The acquisition has not been finalized yet, and if BUD fails to (or refuses to) win regulator approval by divesting its long held Busch, Busch Light, and Natural Light brands, there is always SABMiller (SBMRY.PK) standing by, which is also rumored to be a takeover target, as is Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST).

Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) seems set to purchase the sports blog Bleacher Report, which should generate approximately $40 million in sales in 2012. That revenue figure should make the reported price tag of around $200 million seem sweet to TWX investors, if compared to other Internet deals that go down without revenue seeming to be an important criterion.

Rift Acquisitions, a joint venture between Prudential (NYSE:PUK) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), will purchase 90 percent of Veolia Environnement’s (NYSE:VE) regulated water division in the United Kingdom for £1.24 billion, or $1.92 billion. This divestiture is part of Veolia’s strategy through which it will exit half the 70 countries where it operates, and sell off assets worth €5 billion by 2013, while it attempts to reduce its debt to under €12 billion.

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Nestle (NSRGY.PK) is said to be in advanced discussions with lenders in order to raise $8.7 billion to help finance its $11.85 billion takeover of Pfizer Nutrition. The transaction will be quite expensive, but Nestle enjoys a long reputation as a good borrower, which should afford it lower interest rates.

Sony (NYSE:SNE) is divesting its chemical division and chemical products operations to the state-backed Development Bank of Japan, at a price tag of ¥58 billion, or $727 million.

Friday

The Spanish firm Banco Bilboa Vizcaya Argentaria (NYSE:BBVA) conforms to the current pattern of major banks divesting assets to raise capital, as it sells its operations in Puerto Rico to Oriental Financial Group (NYSE:OFG). The transaction will bring $500 million to BBVA, and will contribute to the consolidation among Puerto Rica’s financial institutions as well.

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Glencore (GLCNF.PK) is prepared to abandon its proposed giant merger with Xstrata (XSRAY.PK) unless the sovereign wealth fund in Qatar quits its demand for a 16 percent increase in the transaction’s premium, say sources. However, so far there are no signs that the fund will back down, and that Glencore believes the higher premium overvalues Xstrata, but the former thinks that it can come back later with a fresh bid if necessary.

Shares of Micron (NASDAQ:MU) take off in late trading, from word in The Nikkei that it will acquire the bankrupt Elpida (ELPDF.PK) for ¥200 billion ($2.51 billion). The two firms have discussed such a deal for months, which would if completed reduce DRAM capacity and thus raise prices throughout the industry. Specifically, the merger would increase Micron’s economies of scale and boost its relatively weak position in the quickly growing mobile DRAM market, although observers are a bit dubious as to the effect upon Micron’s balance sheet.

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Finally, A-B InBev (NYSE:BUD) acquires the outstanding remainder of Grupo Modelo for $20.1 billion, which significantly beats the $12 billion to $15 billion chatter price. Following the reshaping of the beer market, Anthony Bucalo at Santander names Heineken (HINKY.PK) as the biggest loser in the deal, as it is left alone in Mexico’s intense competitive environment. Meanwhile, SABMiller (SBMRY.PK) may now concentrate fully on its own acquisition of Foster’s, since a merger with BUD is no longer a possibility, while the industry gets closer to a full unification.

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Human Genome (NASDAQ:HGSI) shares jump Friday, as the firm considers the potential for a more robust offer from GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK). It’s thought at RBC Capital that HGSI might receive a bid of $15 per share, which would significantly exceed the present $13 offer. Once again, GSK extends its tender offer until July 20th, just in case HGSI shareholders change their minds.

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