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  • Agrium courts Australia's AWB. In a surprise bid, Canadian fertilizer maker Agrium (NYSE:AGU) offered $1.1B in cash to buy AWB, Australia's largest wheat exporter, edging out an offer from local player GrainCorp (OTCPK:GRCLF). A deal would add to recent consolidation in Australia's grain industry as foreign firms try to grow their stake in the world's fourth-largest wheat exporting nation. Agrium's offer is a 37% premium to AWB's closing price on Friday, but analysts believe GrainCorp could come back with a higher bid and that there may be interest from other Canadian firms, possibly including Viterra (OTC:VTRAF). Shares of AWB +30% in Australian trading.
  • Dell buys 3Par. Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) announced it will acquire storage technology firm 3Par (NYSE:PAR) in a deal valued at approximately $1.15B. Dell will commence a tender offer to acquire all the outstanding shares of 3Par for $18/share in cash. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Dell's earnings in FY 2012. Premarket: DELL -0.3%, PAR +83.4% to $17.70 (7:00 ET).
  • Aspen buys Sigma's drug unit. South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare (OTCPK:APNHF) agreed to buy the drugmaking arm of Australia's Sigma Pharmaceuticals for $804M in cash, gaining control of around 25% of Australia's generic drugs market. Aspen had previously offered A$648M ($578M) for all of Sigma after its shares had slumped, but this recrafted offer gives Aspen the asset it wants most while leaving Sigma with a drug distribution and pharmacy business. Sigma hopes to put the deal to a shareholder vote at the end of October.
  • Chinese groups eye partial AIA bid. AIG (NYSE:AIG) is reportedly seeking pre-IPO investments from Chinese investors for its AIA life insurance business, and a consortium of Chinese companies is expected to bid for a 30% stake in AIA. The consortium, which includes Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (OTCPK:IDCBF) and China Life Insurance (NYSE:LFC), would probably invest around $10B.
  • BofA mulls BlackRock divestiture. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) may reduce its 34% stake in BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), sources said, as the bank works to shed non-core investments. BofA hasn't reached a final decision yet and a deal is not imminent, but BlackRock executives expect the sale to go through eventually.
  • Chinese economy on track to overtake Japan's. China is expected to surpass Japan this year as the world's second-largest economy, an unprecedented move for a still-developing country that was in seventh place just over a decade ago. Japan reported its Q2 GDP figures this morning, showing its economic output of $1.288T fell short of the $1.339T reported by China for the same period; though China's output has topped Japan's before, the fact that it's happening in an early quarter is indicative of the countries' respective momentums.
  • Friday's failure. Regulators closed one bank on Friday, bringing this year's total failures to 110 so far. The closure in Palos Heights, Ill. is expected to cost the FDIC's insurance fund $72M.

Today's Markets

  • In Asia, Japan -0.6% to 9197. Hong Kong +0.2% to 21112. China +2.1% to 2662. India -0.6% to 18051.
  • In Europe, at midday, London -0.3%. Paris -0.6%. Frankfurt -0.2%.
  • Futures: Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq flat. Crude +0.3% to $75.65. Gold +0.7% to $1225.

Monday's Economic Calendar

Seeking Alpha's Market Currents team contributed to this post.


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