Today - 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.
8:53 AMEssex and BRE in exclusive negotiations
- Essex Property Trust (ESS) confirms its proposal to buy BRE Properties, saying it offered $12.33 in cash and $0.2971 of ESS for each share of BRE - $58.08 based on Friday's close. Chatter last week said the offer was higher than a rejected $60 per share bid made by Land & Buildings earlier this year.
- The two companies have entered exclusive negotiations.
- BRE -2% premarket to $58.15
- Essex press release
- BRE press release
8:11 AMSysco lands US Foods in large foodservice merger
- Sysco (SYY) buys U.S. Foods in a deal that has a total enterprise value of close to $8.2B inclusive of the assumption of debt.
- After the merger closes, US Foods shareholders will hold approximately 87M shares of Sysco.
- The new combined company expects to realize annual synergies of $600M.
- The deal is slated to close in Q3 of 2014.
- SYY +10.2% premarket.
7:11 AMTerex to offload truck unit to Volvo for $160M
- Terex (TEX) has agreed to sell its truck business, which sells off-highway rigid and articulated haul trucks, to Volvo Construction Equipment for $160M.
- "Trucks no longer fit within our changing portfolio of lifting and material handling businesses," said Terex CEO Ron DeFeo. The deal reflects the company's strategy to "focus on those businesses that provide the greatest returns for our shareholders."
- Terex plans to use the proceeds from the deal to help finance a stock buyback program and dividend payouts. (PR)
6:47 AMWhiteWave to acquire Earthbound Farm for $600M in cash
- WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) is acquiring Earthbound Farm - the largest organic produce brand in North America - for $600M in cash
- The acquisition is expected to be accretive to EPS (+$0.07 before transaction costs) in the first year after close. Subject to regulatory approvals etc., it is expected to be completed during Q1 2014. WhiteWave plans to operate Earthbound Farm as a separate business unit.
- Earthbound's anticipated 2013 net sales are over $500M.
- WhiteWave will fund the acquisition with borrowings under its existing credit facilities, and intends to increase its credit facilities by $500M to fund further growth.
4:34 AMActivist investor to turn heat up on Bob Evans
- Sandell Asset Management reportedly intends to announce today that it will begin a consent solicitation at Bob Evans (BOBE), which will enable shareholders to vote on changes at the restauranteur outside an annual meeting.
- Sandell will also reveal that it has heard that Bob Evan has rebuffed buyout interest from at least one private-equity firm.
- The fund's expected move will come after Bob Evans, in which Sandell owns 6.5%, rejected proposals that the latter has made. These include splitting up the company's restaurant and packaged-food businesses, borrowing against its real-estate holdings, and even selling those assets.
- Sandell reckons Bob Evans could be worth above $80 a share, well above Friday's close of $51.31.
4:15 AMKKR, Bain bid for $1.6B Tyco security unit
- Tyco International (TYC) has reportedly attracted initial bids from KKR (KKR) and Bain Capital for ADT Caps, its South Korean security systems unit, which is valued at around $1.6B.
- Other suitors for ADT Caps include CVC Capital Partners, Hong Kong-based Affinity Equity Partners and South Korea's MBK Partners.
- The $1.6B valuation is based on an EBITDA multiple of 10, above the 8X that other deals in the sector attracted.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
6:28 PMVerizon reportedly buying CDN owner EdgeCast for $350M+
- TechCrunch reports Verizon (VZ) is acquiring content delivery network (CDN) EdgeCast for $350M+. EdgeCast counts Yahoo, Twitter, Pinterest, and Hulu among its clients, has been profitable for the last four years, and was on a $100M/year revenue run rate as of July.
- Thus, assuming EdgeCast is still growing, Verizon may be paying just ~3x forward sales. CDN market leader Akamai (AKAM) trades at 4.5x 2014E sales.
- Acquiring EdgeCast could unravel an enterprise CDN partnership Verizon has with Akamai. With telcos increasingly looking to offer their own CDN services, Akamai has been trying to turn a threat into an opportunity by offering carrier CDN solutions. In addition to Verizon, AT&T and Orange are clients.
- As for Verizon, the company could leverage its IP infrastructure and sales reach to grow EdgeCast's sales to third-parties, and (perhaps more interestingly) use EdgeCast's network to underpin an expansion of its online/mobile video offerings.
- This year has already seen Verizon add mobile support for certain FiOS channels, and acquire TV Everywhere encoding tech provider upLynk. The telco has also been reported to be eying the assets of Intel's Web TV unit, with the idea of offering a Web TV service in areas not covered by FiOS.
5:25 AMSupreme Court justice blocks last-ditch try to stop AMR-US deal
- The merger of American Airlines (AAMRQ) and US Airways (LCC) is all set to take off tomorrow after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denied a last-minute effort by consumer groups and travel agents to prevent the deal from taking place.
- The plaintiffs fear that the deal will force prices up, hurt services and make planes more crowded.
5:02 AMBain, Golden Gate enter battle for Compuware
- Bain and Golden Gate Capital have reportedly teamed up to make a bid for software provider Compuware (CPWR), whose market cap is $2.34B.
- The private-equity firms agreed to acquire larger rival BMC Software (BMC) in May, although they wouldn't necessarily merge Compuware with BMC.
- Bain and Golden Gate could face competition from Thoma Bravo and Vista Capital.
- Any deal could represent an exit for activist investor Elliot Management, Compuware's largest shareholder with an 8.6% holding. Elliot tried to buy Compuware a year ago but was rebuffed.
Friday, December 6, 2013
6:29 PMComcast retains J.P. Morgan to evaluate Time Warner Cable bid
- Comcast (CMCSA +0.4%) has tapped J.P. Morgan for advice as it evaluates a bid for Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.2%), Reuters reports.
- Sources said Comcast does not intend to make a pre-emptive bid, but may jump in if it looks like Charter Communications (CHTR +0.4%) is getting close to a deal.
- TWC, for its part, considers Comcast the best suitor given its ability to make an all-cash offer and the better nature of the geographic fit between the 2 operators.
- Previous: FCC commissioner doubts Comcast-TWC merger would be approved