Tuesday, December 10, 2013
4:51 PMDiscovery reportedly mulling bid for Scripps
- Variety reports Discovery's (DISCA) board discussed a possible bid for Scripps (SNI) at a Tuesday meeting.
- The magazine points out Scripps, which owns the Food Network, HGTV, and the Travel Channel, would mesh well with Discovery's own stable of "lifestyle-driven" channels. A merger would also give Discovery more leverage and bundling opportunities in talks with pay-TV providers.
- Scripps remains controlled by 24 descendants of founder E.W. Scripps. The heirs currently face restrictions on their ability to liquidate their holdings via public markets.
- SNI +9.6% AH. DISCA nearly unchanged for now.
2:27 PMSplunk buys network data capture startup
- Splunk (SPLK -1.2%) has acquired Cloudmeter, a developer of products that allow large volumes of data about corporate/data center network activity to be captured. Terms are undisclosed. (PR)
- Splunk plans to integrate Cloudmeter's technology with its machine data analysis software, and notes the former should strengthen the latter's value in IT operational intelligence/troubleshooting deployments (one of its core use cases).
- The purchase comes three months after Splunk bought BugSense, a startup that offered tools for analyzing the machine data produced by mobile apps.
1:41 PMGiant Interactive retains Morgan Stanley, D&F to consider take-private bid| Comment!
10:49 AMFission Uranium looks like a takeover target following Alpha deal
- Fission Uranium (FCUUF) completed its acquisition of Alpha Minerals, giving it full ownership of the Patterson Lake South discovery in Saskatchewan's Athabasca Basin, which Raymond James considers the last known "high-grade, easily open-pittable uranium asset left un-mined in the world," and which should operate with extremely low cash costs with plenty of exploration upside.
- Such attributes make it a top takeover target for the Basin's existing major producers, miners considering a Basin foothold, or even Asian nuclear utilities, the firm says: "Assuming exploration momentum continues, we would be surprised if a bid did not materialize in the next two years."
10:24 AMYahoo higher as Alibaba given $150B valuation; another startup acquired
- RBC's Mark Mahaney is now assigning Alibaba a $150B valuation, up from a prior $110B. That, in turn, implies a $36B pre-tax valuation for Yahoo's (YHOO +1.4%) 24% stake (up from a prior $26.4B), and has led Mahaney to hike his Yahoo PT to $44 from $38.
- Talks with Chinese companies and investors lead Mahaney to think Alibaba accounts for over 50% of Chinese online retail sales, and that the company's e-commerce services are complemented by "a highly effective and broad advertising monetization engine" for merchants.
- He also thinks Alibaba's cloud infrastructure (IaaS) offerings (bear a resemblance to Amazon Web Services) are gaining traction. Contacts suggest Alibaba already has "hundreds of thousands" of IaaS customers.
- Separately, Yahoo has made yet another acqui-hire. The target this time is QuikIO, developer of an iOS app that let users stream and download media files from their PCs. Not surprisingly, the app will be shut down, and QuikIO's team will join Yahoo.
- Yesterday: Yahoo reportedly eying image-hosting platform Imgur
9:53 AMMRC Global signs two deals to strengthen international business
- MRC Global (MRC +1.4%) makes two separate international acquisitions, including an agreement to buy Norway-based Stream, a pipe and valve distributor for the offshore oil and gas industry, for ~$260M.
- The deals are part of MRC's international growth strategy, which the maker of pipes and other products used by energy and industrial firms expects will help it reach its target of achieving more than $1B in global revenue by 2015.
- MRC's international sales were $567M in 2012, while Stream's 2013 revenue is expected to total $273M.
8:58 AMVitran to be acquired by Manitoulin Transport for $6/share| 1 Comment
8:17 AMPebblebrook buys San Francisco hotel
- Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (PEB) buys the Radisson Hotel Fisherman's Wharf - 355 rooms and 44K square feet of retail space - for $132M, with an expectation of spending $18M-$20M over the next two years to completely renovate the hotel.
- The hotel is expected to operate at 89% occupancy in 2013 with RevPAR of $165 and NOI of $11M. The retail space is 95% net leased with average rent/foot of more than $100. Pebblebrook estimates the hotel will generate $9.3M-$9.8M in NOI in 2014.
- Pebblebrook expects acquisition costs of about $2.1M and $1M of costs related to transition of the new management team.
- Press release
7:16 AMNovartis mulls swapping animal-health ops with another business
- Novartis (NVS) is reportedly considering an attempt to swap its animal-health division with a business owned by Merck (MRK) or another company.
- The Swiss firm, which apparently has little use for the cash that a sale or IPO would bring, has its eye on Merck's over-the-counter drug business, although it's not clear whether the latter would be open to such an exchange.
- Novartis' animal-health unit has drawn interest from German drugmakers Boehringer Ingelheim and Bayer (OTCPK:BAYZF), and from Eli Lilly (LLY).
6:40 AMTrunkbow enters going private transaction
- Trunkbow International Holdings (TBOW), a leading provider of mobile payment solutions and mobile value added services, has entered an agreement with Trunkbow Merger Group Limited, owned by TBOW Chairman Dr. Wanchun Hou and CEO Qiang Li to be acquired for $1.46/share, a 24.8% premium over the Nov. 1, 2012 closing price, prior to TBOW's announcement that it had received a "going private" proposal.
- Shares closed Monday at $1.19.
- Source: press release
Monday, December 9, 2013
6:58 PMAvan Projects acquires controlling interest in Papa John's Indian franchisee| Comment!
5:18 PMAccelrys acquires Irish cloud compliance software maker QUMAS for $50M| Comment!
5:08 PMValueClick selling website unit to IAC
- ValueClick (VCLK) is selling its Owned & Operated Websites business, which includes properties such as Investopedia and U.K. price-comparison site PriceRunner, to InterActiveCorp (IACI) for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to close in January. (PR)
- ValueClick announced last month (in tandem with disappointing Q3 results) it plans to sell its O&O unit, and focus on its online ad network/tech ops. O&O had Q3 revenue of $28.9M, and operating income of $4.5M.
- IAC plans to add the business to its Search & Applications unit, which includes Ask.com, About.com, and Dictionary.com. The acquisition stands to provide Barry Diller's Web empire with a little more advertising scale.
- With its numbers boosted by the About.com purchase, Search & Applications had Q3 revenue of $407.3M (54% of IAC's total revenue), and op. income of $87.8M (72% of the company total).
4:26 PMTrinity Industries, Element Financial Corp. in $2B railcar deal
- A new subsidiary of Trinity Industries (TRN) enters into a strategic alliance with Element Financial Corp. which is set to acquire a new portfolio of railcars.
- Element will initially purchase some $500M of leased railcars from Trinity Industries Leasing Company ($100M of which will be bought by the end of the year).
- After the initial $500M purchase, Element will buy another $500M worth of railcars, this time from TrinityRail.
- Finally, Element is expected to make another $1B worth of purchases in 2015. This lot will include both newly manufactured cars and existing leased cars.
- For more on the deal, see here.
12:50 PMYahoo reportedly eying image-hosting platform Imgur
- BI reports Yahoo (YHOO -0.3%) "began serious talks" to acquire popular image-hosting/sharing platform Imgur this fall. Given current startup valuations and reports of strong VC/acquisition interest in Imgur, a deal likely wouldn't come cheap, though its price tag would probably be less than the $1.1B Yahoo paid for Tumblr.
- Imgur had 100M+ unique users as of September, up from just 30M at the beginning of 2012. Unlike Yahoo's Flickr (or for that matter, Facebook/Instagram), a large portion of its content doesn't consist of photos taken by users, but 3rd-party images (often animated and/or featuring text) created with public sharing in mind.
- Initially created as a image-hosting solution for article-sharing site Reddit, Imgur's reach now exceeds Reddit. Facebook and Twitter account for much of its referral traffic.
- Much like Tumblr, it's quite popular with the younger users Yahoo wants to reach out to. Also like Tumblr, some of its edgy and offbeat material may rub advertisers the wrong way.
11:40 AMOmnicell acquires SurgiChem from Bupa Care Homes for £12M
- Omnicell (OMCL -1.4%) acquires U.K. medication adherence packaging systems provider SurgiChem from Bupa Care Homes for £12M.
- SurgiChem grew revenue at a 13.9% clip in 2012 to £6.6M, generating £695K in profit.
- Omnicell intends to combine SurgiChem's ops with its MTS Medication Technologies subsidiary in the U.K.
11:19 AMTelecom New Zealand divests AAPT for AU$450M to TPG
- Telecom New Zealand (NZTCY +1.3%) will sell business telecommunications and cloud services provider AAPT for AU$450M ($409M) to TPG. Closing is expected in Feb., with Australian regulators having cleared the deal.
- After having sold the consumer division of AAPT in 2010 for AU$60M, the price the telco is getting is a far cry from the AU$2.2B it paid for AAPT at the peak of the dot com bubble in 1999.
- The ops' revenue has consistently declined, as has operational performance, with AAPT generating EBITDA of $57M this year, down $10M from the previous year.
- To TPG, the 11K km of fibre the unit owns across six states and territories "will provide ... a much larger backhaul network across Australia, as the company begins to embark on a fibre-to-the-basement rollout for 500,000 CBD businesses and apartments covered by TPG's existing network," ZDNet writes.
11:18 AMIndian government holding off on Vodafone decision
- Citing a lack of interior ministry security approvals, India's foreign investment regulator says it's deferring a ruling on Vodafone's (VOD +1.2%) request to assume full ownership of its local subsidiary.
- Vodafone directly or indirectly owns 84.5% of its Indian unit, which is the country's #2 mobile carrier. It's offering $1.6B to buy out minority holders, and has promised to invest $2B in the business.
9:16 AMVerizon confirms EdgeCast deal, says Vodafone deal to boost EPS
- Verizon (VZ) confirms it's acquiring CDN owner EdgeCast Networks. No price tag is given, but TechCrunch reported over the weekend Verizon is paying $350M+. The companies hope to close the deal in early 2014. (PR)
- Akamai (AKAM) investors aren't responding well to the news; shares -2.5% premarket. The deal could both strengthen an Akamai rival, and end Verizon's partnership with the CDN market leader.
- Verizon notes EdgeCast has 6K+ customers, and says the business complements that of TV Everywhere uploading/encoding service provider upLynk (acquired earlier this year).
- Separately, at a UBS conference talk (webcast), Verizon predicts its $130B purchase of Vodafone's Verizon Wireless stake (financed using both debt and equity) will boost EPS by 10%.
9:12 AMEqual Energy to be acquired by Petroflow Energy for $5.43/share
- Equal Energy (EQU) agrees to be acquired by Petroflow Energy in a deal totaling $230M, or $5.43/share, a 23% premium to the $4.43 closing price on Nov. 18 when EQU said its strategic alternatives process had successfully resulted in exclusive negotiations for a proposed transaction.
- Montclair Energy had been attempting the acquire EQU for months but failed to come up with an acceptable offer.