Microsoft Gets Wild, Telecom Heats Up: M&A Weekly Recap

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to this week’s M&A headlines:

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A number of MetroPCS Communications (NYSE:PCS) shareholders have brought a suit to stop the T-Mobile (DTEGY.PK) merger, saying that their company is “drastically undervalued” by the terms. Observers might wonder if they are expecting that SoftBank Corp. (SFTBF.PK) might make a counter offer, while others think it will follow up on the Sprint purchase by snapping up smaller American carriers.

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) buys StorSimple, which develops storage appliances and related software, while sporting advanced cloud backup capabilities. The purchase fits into its attempts to exhibit its Azure platform as an ideal solution for “hybrid” cloud environments which support both locally-hosted and service provider-controlled cloud infrastructures.

Zep (NYSE:ZEP) will purchase the assets of Ecolab’s (NYSE:ECL) vehicle care business for approximately $120 million. The buyer expects the deal to be modestly accretive to earnings in its fiscal year 2013. For its part, Ecolab says that the divestiture helps it to sharpen its concentration on core business areas.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) buys MarketingPilot, which develops marketing automation software, in a transaction for which the price was not divulged. The former intends to join MarketingPilot’s products which currently target at marketing and advertising agencies with its Dynamics CRM software line. In addition to MarketingPilot, Eloqua (ELOQ) and ExactTarget (ET) also supply cloud-based marketing automation software.

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ASML Holding (NASDAQ:ASML) will buy Cymer (NASDAQ:CYMI) for €1.95 billion, or $2.5 billion, in a cash and stock transaction which will permit ASML to accelerate the development of extreme ultraviolet semiconductor lithography tech which is crucial for manufacturing the next generation of microchips. The buyer has issued new stock to Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK), representing just about 9 percent of its share capital to help pay for the takeover.

Harry Winston Diamond Corporation (NYSE:HWD) would like to divest its watch and jewelry unit in order to focus more on its mining division. The firm has been approaching potential buyers such as the luxury groups LVMH and PPR, according to Reuters.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) has acquired the clinical outreach laboratory division of UMass Memorial Medical Center, which is a member of UMass Memorial Health Care and also the biggest health care system in Central New England. Financials of the purchase were not divulged. The buyer expects that the deal will bring 1 percent to consolidated revenues, and be neutral to earnings per share this year, but accretive to earnings next year.

More TNK-BP news as the four Russian-based billionaires who control 50 percent of the joint venture will divest their interest to Rosneft Oil Co. (RNFTF.PK) for $28 billion, according to Sky News. BP (NYSE:BP) would like to sell its 50 percent share in TNK-BP as well, and the amount that Rosneft is paying is higher than that would have been anticipated. The offer deadline set for Thursday morning, and it’s thought that this latest move will not affect BP’s plans to sell. A later Wall Street Journal report has it that BP is close to selling its stake in the joint venture to the Rosneft in a cash and shares transaction worth $25 billion.

CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) will acquire the Kansas City Board of Trade in a cash deal worth $126 million. In terms of the wheat market, the hard red winter variety trades in Kansas City while the sector benchmark soft red winter wheat dominates in Chicago.

Some petroleum spin-offs may be in store, as Third Point has successfully gotten Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR) to do just that with its domestic retail unit. Analyst Paul Sankey at Deutsche Bank believes that Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY) and Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) might be lining themselves up for such moves, because “in both cases, investors have major questions over strategy and execution, and both are trading below NAV.” Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is being seen as a sleeper pick.

International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) is said to be in advanced discussions to acquire Red Bend, which is an Israeli developer of mobile virtualization and device management software, at a price between $200 million and $250 million. The latter’s offerings compete with VMware and Citrix, which permit multiple operating systems to be installed on a mobile device, and assist service providers to handle remote updates.

It is said that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is poised to purchase Color, which at one time was a hyped mobile photo-sharing startup that has since failed. It seems that the latter’s patents might be tempting Apple, reports The Next Web.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is said by Bloomberg to be in discussions to acquire the Brazilian bookseller Saraiva, which at this time has a market cap of $356 million, and is both a publisher and retailer of books online and in physical stores. Meanwhile, the possibility of Amazon entering Brazil seems to be causing worries for MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI), which shares have already fallen on the report.

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Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) has bought control of Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR) through first buying out one of the latter’s other investors, Eagle River Holdings, in an arrangement that gives Sprint an interest of 50.8 percent. Earlier, observers had figured that Sprint might reach a deal through Intel or Comcast, in which it would be permitted to name a majority of directors to Clearwire’s board.

Rosneft Oil Co. (RNFTF.PK) has officially offered BP (NYSE:BP) $28 billion in cash and stock to acquire its interest in TNK-BP, according to The Financial Times. BP would receive between $15 billion and $20 billion in cash plus a stake in Rosneft of between 10 and 20 percent. Just earlier in the week, Rosneft agreed to purchase the 50 percent interest in TNK-BP held by four billionaires in Russia, but on Thursday, they waived their right to bid for BP’s investment after failing to raise the cash.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) possesses the financial clout to acquire a company such as Encana Corporation (NYSE:ECA), but analysts wonder if such a move will actually take place as anticipated. Kevin Kaiser at Hedgeye praises the concept subsequent to Exxon’s buyout of Celtic, whose assets are right in the middle of Encana’s Canadian natural gas assets, but worries that getting past government approval could be tricky.

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Local Corporation (NASDAQ:LOCM) divests its Rovion rich-media advertising tech business to the media conglomerate Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI), in a transaction whose financials were not reported. Rovion’s Ad Composer platform permits the development of multimedia ads without coding ability. The buyer has been accelerating its technology mergers and acquisitions activity as it recently bought the loyalty card application developer Mobestream Media marketing firm BLiNQ Media.

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Harry Winston Diamond Corporation (NYSE:HWD) shares are steady after giving back most of Wednesday’s gains, while Chief Executive Frederic de Narp refutes rumors that his company is wants to divest its watch and jewelry division.

SoftBank Corp. (SFTBF.PK) Chief Executive Masayoshi Son will not rule out an offer for MetroPCS Communications (NYSE:PCS), which is set to merge with T-Mobile USA. The former’s deal to purchase 70 percent of Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) includes an $8 billion cash infusion that could permit Sprint enter a bid on SoftBank’s behalf.

ING Groep (NYSE:ING) pushes its program forward of offloading Asian assets and will divest, as anticipated, its insurance divisions in Macau, Hong Kong, and Thailand to Pacific Century Group for $2.14 billion. The buyer is owned by the Hong Kong businessman Richard Li. ING should see a net gain of €1 billion from the sale, which follows an agreement last week to divest its Malaysian insurance operations for $1.7 billion.

Wanxiang Group will try to outbid Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) for the automotive-business assets of A213 Systems (NASDAQ:AONE) and also to supplant the American company as the “stalking horse” bidder. The former told its intentions at a court hearing Thursday, subsequent to A123’s Chapter 11 filing.

The online heath information company WebMD Health Corp. (NASDAQ:WBMD) will keep its poison pill in effect until October 31, 2014, as it continues to fight off the activist investor Cark Icahn. WebMD is scheduled to report on November 1st.

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