Friday, 26 August 2011

Mergers & Acquisitions - Week Ending 26/08/11

On Tuesday, H&R Block sold RSM McGladrey; its accounting and consulting unit, to its working partner McGladrey & Pullen for $610 million. The tax service provider said this sale would help it refocus on increasing market share and margins in its core business. It was up 7.4% at the bell. The midweek saw Unilever sell two major hair care brands to Brynwood Partners for an undisclosed amount; in a deal struck to satisfy the US Justice Department’s conditions on its $3.7 billion acquisition of Alberto Culver. The private equity firm will take control of the Rave brand as well as Alberto VO5’s US and Puerto Rican units. The consumer goods giant was down 1.2%.

The following day, Verizon acquired CloudSwitch; a provider of cloud software, for an undisclosed fee. The communications firm plans to combine the cloud software provider with its IT subsidiary Terremark. They finished the day 2% lower. Also that day, Compass Diversified Holdings purchased CamelBak; a hydration backpack manufacturer, for $258 million. The buyer dropped 1.7%. On Friday, Japanese telecoms company Softbank said it would repay CitiBank’s $1.1 billion loan using its 4% stake in Yahoo as per a 2004 agreement. Despite making a profit due to Yahoo’s depreciation in recent years, the seller fell 0.5%. CitiGroup was relatively unaffected by the news.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Mergers & Acquisitions - Week Ending 19/08/11

On Monday, Time Warner Cable announced that they would buy Insight Communications, a provider of cable television in the Midwestern US, for $3 billion. Despite gaining more than half a million customers, the buyer fell by 0.75%. Also in media, Virgin sold a 50% stake in UKTV to Scripps Network Interactive for $552.4 million. Scripps’ price increased by 0.75%, while the seller was boosted 4.3%. Berkshire Hathaway disclosed in a filing that they had acquired 0.5% of Dollar General. The discount retailer was up around 3.6% in after hours trading, while Warren Buffet’s famed holding company rose almost 1%. That day also saw the week’s biggest acquisition, as Google purchased Motorola Mobility Holdings for $12.5 billion. This move into the cellphone business comes as the web giant’s mobile platform, Android, continues to grow as smartphones become increasingly popular. The buyer fell 1%, while Motorola Mobility was boosted 56%, representing the massive premium being offered.

The midweek saw Cree bought Ruud Lighting for $583 million. The semiconductor maker was down 4%. On Thursday, Asahi Group Holdings took over Flavoured Beverages Group Holdings for $1.3 billion. The Japanese alcohol manufacturer was up 1.7%. Noble Energy acquired a 50% stake in a shale venture owned by Consol Energy for $3.4 billion. Noble was down 5.6%, while the seller was up 0.4%. Hewlett-Packard announced that it would buy Autonomy, a software producer in the UK for $11.7 billion. In after hours trading, the buyer was down 21%, while Autonomy was 64% higher; in line with the premium offered. Also that day, Liberty Media bought a $204 million stake in Barnes & Noble. Liberty fell around 5% as the troubled bookseller dropped 7%.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Mergers & Acquisitions - Week Ending 12/08/11

It appears as if last week’s US debt agreement has failed to foster any lasting confidence on Wall Street, with this week seeing only two deals. The first of these came on Tuesday, when Sara Lee agreed to sell its North American refrigerated dough unit to Ralcorp for $545 million. This comes as both food companies are adjusting strategy; Sara Lee is preparing to split its food and beverage divisions and Ralcorp is spinning off cereal making unit ‘Post Foods’ to shareholders. The buyer was up 1%, while Sara Lee was boosted 4.4% on the news. The following day it was announced that Capital One would acquire the US credit card unit of HSBC in a $2.6 billion deal. This follows HSBC’s sale of almost 200 branches in New York and the layoff of 30,000 employees in a massive cost cutting effort. It is now looking to concentrate more on emerging markets and corporate lending. The seller fell 7.6%, while the Capital One rose 0.6%.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Mergers & Acquisitions - Week Ending 05/08/11

It was announced on the weekend that HSBC would sell 195 branches in New York State to First Niagara Financial Group for $1 billion as it continues to cut costs in the face of falling revenue. The following week, the seller was up 1.6%, while the buyer fell 2.7%. On Monday, Windstream Corporation acquired Paetec, a broadband provider, for $891 million. The tech giant fell 0.5% as Paetec rose over 20% on the news. Radio stations Westwood One and Dial Global merged in a stock-for-stock deal worth $250 million. Westwood was boosted 13.6%. Google purchased Dealmap, a website that gathers discounts from hundreds of online stores, for an undisclosed fee. The world’s most popular search engine was up 0.5%. Monday also saw two deals involving activist investors looking to improve struggling American businesses. A ten percent stake in Talbots was bought by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm. The market reacted positively, with shares in the troubled clothing chain up almost 18%. A five percent stake in McGraw-Hill was acquired by a Canadian pension and Jana Partners, a hedge fund, in after-hours trading. This sent shares in the information services provider over 2% higher by Tuesday’s opening bell.

The following day, Kirin Holdings purchased Aleadri-Schinni Participações e Representações, a Brazilian drinks manufacturer, for $2.6 billion. The Japanese food and drinks manufacturer was down 0.3%. Fresenius Medical Care announced that it would buy two dialysis chains; Liberty Dialysis for $1.7 billion and American Access Care for $385 million. Despite this aggressive move, the world’s largest dialysis treatment firm fell 2.4%. The board of Northumbrian Water Group has decided to accept the offer made by Cheung Kong Holdings worth $3.9 billion. The buyer was down 0.65%, while the British utilities company was up 4.3%. Following a quiet midweek, Thursday saw the Blackstone Group acquire Emdeon, which provides medical data services, for $3 billion. This didn’t stop the buyout firm’s share price plummeting 10.8%, as Emdeon rose 13%. On Friday, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China purchased an eighty percent stake in Standard Bank Argentina, Standard Investment and Inversora Diagonal for $600 million. The buyer was down 1.4% at week’s end.