Wal-Mart Wants Twinkies, Freeport-McMoRan Wants Lenders: Merger and Acquisitions Update

Trinity Industries (NYSE:TRN) has purchased the assets of Armstrong Bros. Holding Co., through a wholly-owned subsidiary at a purchase price of about $40 million.  The latter is a Michigan-based manufacturer and lessor of trench shields and shoring equipment for the underground construction industry.  The transaction includes rental fleet assets, net working capital, associated manufacturing and operational facilities, and certain patents and trademarks.

Lenders went forward this week with syndication of a $12.5 billion loan package that will back Freeport-McMoran’s (NYSE:FCX) purchase of Plains Exploration & Production Co. (NYSE:PXP) and McMoran Exploration Co. in the face of  increasing stock holder worries about the merger, said sources to Thomson Reuters. The buyer reached out to leading relationship banks to syndicate the financing that includes a $4 billion term loan, and a $5.5 billion bridge to bonds. In addition, the firm is hoping to refinance and upsize an existing $1.5 billion, five-year revolver to $3 billion.

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Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) and other mammoth retail chains are among a number of emerging bidders for brand names to be auctioned off by the bankrupt baker Hostess Brands, which in November shut its plants and laid off the majority of its 18,000 workers. The retailing giant had been Hostess’s largest customer, and if it wins the Bankruptcy Court auction, it could mean that the snack foods would be sold only in its stores.

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) and Coca-Cola FEMSA agree that the latter can purchase 51 percent of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines in an all-cash transaction of $688.5 million. This price represents a total enterprise value for 100 percent of the bottler at $1.35 billion which results in a 2012 projected EBITDA multiple of about 13.5 times. Through the terms, Coca-Cola FEMSA has an option to purchase the remaining 49 percent of CCBPI at any time during the seven years subsequent to the closing, and will have a put option to sell its ownership to The Coca-Cola Company any time during year six. The transaction should close in early 2013.

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