M&A Roundup: Harrah's Hits the Jackpot, NYSE Gets the Nod, Morgan Stanley's Discovery

 |  Includes: HET, MA, NYX
by: Tom Taulli
Jackpot: Who wouldn't want to accept $17.1 billion? That's what happened today as Harrah's (HET) said "yes" to the $90-per-share offer from two private equity firms, Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group.

If you add the $10.7 billion already on the balance sheet, the enterprise value of the deal comes to a whopping $27.8 billion. In a way, it's gamblers who are funding this one – as the Harrah's properties generate huge amounts of cash flows.

The deal also has a no-shop provision, which permits Harrah's to seek other bidders within the next 25 days. Although, this will probably be more of a formality.

NYSE Gets the Nod: The shareholders of Euronext NV approved the merger transaction with the NYSE Group (NYSE:NYX). It makes a lot of sense – in terms of bringing much more cohesion between the US and Europe. It should also mean lots of cost cuts.

And, of course, this is probably just the start of the consolidation in cross-border deals.

Morgan Stanley's Discovery: Timing. That's the secret to Wall Street. And, Morgan Stanley thinks its time to let go of its Discover business.

Things are looking pretty good for the unit. The new bankruptcy legislation has been helpful. Also, there is the stunning performance of the MasterCard (NYSE:MA) IPO. Why not some of the same for Discover?

The deal is expected for the third quarter of 2007 and will be structured as a tax-free spinoff.

Or, who knows, a strategic may want it.