Priceline Grabs Kayak, Oracle Acquires Instantis: M&A Weekly Recap

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

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European Union competition chief Joaquin Almunia says that United Parcel Service’s (NYSE:UPS) €5.16 billion purchase of TNT Express requires “substantial remedies” so as to assuage antitrust issues, adding that the bloc’s review of Glencore International’s (GLCNF.PK) offer for Xstrata (XSRAF.PK) is “well advanced.” Almunia also remarked that regulators analyze the impact of a proposed deal on quality, pricing, innovation, and choice in addition to examining high market share, which is “not always problematic.”

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Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE:LYG) is said to be considering the divestiture of its 60 percent interest in the United Kingdom wealth manager St James’s Place and might attempt to place the shares on the market by the end of 2012. This chatter emerges while Lloyds faces further scrutiny from regulators in regards to its capital position.

Nike (NYSE:NKE) is said to be close to a deal through which to divest its Cole Haan fashion brand to Apax Partners for a price of $500 million, with an official announcement possible next week. Such a sale would follow an agreement in October for Nike to sell Umbro to the Iconix Brand Group for $225 million as the company wishes to concentrate upon its core Nike business.

ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH) has joined the Bridge Crossing consortium which will purchase the rights to a patent portfolio owned by MIPS Technologies (NASDAQ:MIPS) for $350 million. The former’s contribution to the acquisition will be $167.5 million. Additionally, the GPU core developer Imagination Tech (IGNMF.PK) is purchasing the CPU core licensing division of MIPS and 82 patents for $60 million. The portfolio that ARM bought includes 580 patents and patent applications which cover microprocessor and system-on-chip designs along with related technology.

Franco-Nevada Corporation (NYSE:FNV) purchases an approximate 11.7 percent net royalty interest in the Weyburn Oil Unit with Penn West Petroleum (NYSE:PWE) for the amount of C$400 million in cash. Current output levels are about 26,000 barrels per day of medium grade slightly sour crude. The buyer says that the acquisition should be immediately accretive to earnings, revenue, and cash flow.

Apollo Global Management (NASDAQ:APO) and the private equity firm Apax Partners are currently out in front in their bidsfor the education publishing division of McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:MHP), say sources to the Wall Street Journal. The companies have reportedly done “serious financial diligence” on the unit and McGraw-Hill will name a preferred bidder, subsequent to which it will have to form a transaction.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) seeks to divest its India private wealth management division, say sources, only four years after entering the market. One source commented that “People get smitten by the India opportunity, but very few people will succeed in this market.”

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Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) says that it is not in discussions with The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) to become that giant’s next trophy, but the former’s shares are still trading at an elevated level compared to the last few weeks (they fell slightly Wednesday). A Disney deal coming directly after the Lucasfilm bombshell mystifies most analysts, but the chatter by itself has been sufficient to garner attention to Hasbro’s ample supply of untapped franchises.

The final offer for Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY) from Richard Schulze could go far lower than the $24 to $26 range that the ex-founder first placed on the deal. Some observers think that an initial offer might be announced next week when the firm presents to investors on November 13th at its Analyst and Investor Day in New York.

It is thought that Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY) is among firms bidding for Yates Petroleum, one of the biggest closely held oil companies in the United States, having oil fields in the Permian Basin of New Mexico and elsewhere. Such a deal could bring as much as $3 billion. Yates wants to sell itself before the end of the year so as to avoid higher taxes on transactions anticipated in 2013.

Siemens (NYSE:SI) acquires the Belgian industry software maker LMS International at a price of €680 million and the firm will also divest water businesses with revenues of €1 billion a year.

Aviva (NYSE:AV) confirms that it is in discussions to divest its domestic life and annuities division, but observers believe that any such transaction will come at a “substantial discount” to its book value of £2.4 billion.

Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) will acquire Bakken producing and undeveloped assets for $650 million and will also sell its producing crude oil and natural gas properties and supporting assets located in its East Region for $125 million. The Bakken property includes a leasehold of about 12,000 net acres and production of approximately 6,500 barrels of energy equivalent per day.

Expectations of a possible divestiture of a large servicing block by Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) prompts Sterne Agee to upgrade shares of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NYSE:NSM) to its Catalyst Buy list, remarking that, “Another large trophy portfolio up for sale this soon would come as a surprise to investors.”

Chemicals producer TPC Group (NASDAQ:TPCG) is currently the target of a bidding war as private equity companies First Reserve and SK Capital Partners boost their combined offer to $45, valuing the former at $705.5 million. TPC recommends the deal and cancels discussions with Innospec (NASDAQ:IOSP), which bid $44 to $46 per share in October.

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Shares of SandRidge Energy (NYSE:SD) spiked following the receipt of a letter from TPG-Axon calling for a shakeup of its board, Chief Executive Tom Ward to step down, and the firm’s potential sale. Further, the letter said that fair value for shares is between $12 and $14 along with “significantly greater upside possible through a strategic sale or sensible development of assets.”

Shares of the dermatology firm DUSA Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:DUSA) go through the roof after it agrees to be purchased by India’s Sun Pharma for $8 per share, taking the transaction to a total cash amount of around $230 million. The share price marks a 38 percent bonus to DUSA’s Wednesday close. The company develops and sells the Levulan photodynamic therapy platform for the face and scalp.

Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) acquires Instantis, which develops on-premise non-cloud portfolio project management software which will be joined with the buyer’s Primavera and cloud-based Fusion project management applications. In July, Oracle purchased the cloud project management company Skire.

Shares of Whiting Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:WLL) pull back from an early super-spike on rumors that Statoil (NYSE:STO) had bid $65/share for the firm. However, Benzinga sunsequently reported that Statoil was denying the rumor, which led to the post-spike fall. In mid-afternoon trading, Whiting shares have still moved up from Wednesday.

Carl Icahn has mulled the idea of making a hostile bid for Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), but says he doesn’t think he “would ever get it,” he told CNBC. The activist investor conceded that he wouldn’t be able to pay as much for Netflix as would a “synergistic buyer,” and that he is unable to understand why the firm is not an acquisition target as he believes that it’s undervalued. In addition, he pointed to its 27 million subscribers, which alone rebuffs competitors, and also low interest rates.

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Glencore Inernational’s (GLCNF.PK) acquisition of the Canadian grain handler Viterra (VTRAF.PK) might not close until as late as December 10th, while the Ministry of Commerce of China continues its analysis the $6.1 billion transaction. Rumors have it that China is delaying until Canada makes a decision on Cnooc’s takeover of Nexen. The delay is also impacting Glencore’s side arrangements to flip some Viterra assets to Agrium (NYSE:AGU) and CF Industries Holdings (NYSE:CF), among others.

Priceline.com Incorporated (NASDAQ:PCLN) purchases Kayak Software Corporation (KYAK) at $40 per share, or a total amount of $1.8 billion. That price marks a 29 percent bonus to Kayak’s Thursday close. Shares of Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) dipped after hours Thursday on the news, but have rebounded today in mid-afternoon trading. Investors might have worried that the direct joining of Priceline’s travel listings and bidding platform with Kayak’s search engine could impact Expedia’s market share. TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP) shares mirrored those of Expedia, perhaps on worries that the Priceline transaction might put an end to its travel reviews partnership with Kayak.

Best Buy’s (NYSE:BBY) founder Richard Schulze might offer a lower amount for the company than the $24 to $26 range he suggested in August, says Reuters, as the recent sharp decline in shares fuels investor speculation. If the rumors are accurate, such a bid could value the deal between $8.16 billion and $8.84 billion, or $10.9 billion including debt. An offer is not anticipated before December.

Diageo (NYSE:DEO) says that it will acquire a 53.4 percent interest in India’s United Spirits at a price of $2.1 billion.

Cray (NASDAQ:CRAY) purchases peer supercomputer maker Appro in a $25 million cash transaction. The latter specializes in cluster systems, which represents an increasingly popular architecture that involves employing hundreds or thousands of distributed nodes.

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Shares of Leap Wireless International (NASDAQ:LEAP) move up again on Friday due to new speculation that a spectrum agreement or a full-blown sale might be near. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) has cancelled a conference presentation, and together with Leap’s Wednesday earnings call, which suggested its willingness to divest excess spectrum, has ignited the chatter this time. However, Nomura suggests that investors remain cautious and to look at the numbers involved.


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