Seeking Alpha
  • Friday, September 19, 2014

  • 6:30 PM
    • Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) has set a mid-October deadline to either make a new T-Mobile USA (NYSE:TMUS) offer or walk away, Reuters reports. The French carrier is said to be talking with U.S. banks to help finance a higher bid.
    • Reuters adds Iliad "faces resistance" from Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), which would keep a minority T-Mobile stake under Iliad's proposed deal terms and is skeptical of the company's prospects in a market it currently has no presence in.
    • Bloomberg reported earlier today Iliad was struggling to line up 3rd-party investors, and that DT's board was divided on whether it should "sell its only growing asset." Sources (within Iliad?) tell Reuters Iliad's management has "finished road shows to meet U.S. investors and is waiting to hear back from potential investors."
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  • 5:21 PM
    • The latest speculation over Dresser-Rand (NYSE:DRC) now includes GE, which Financial Times reports is holding talks with DRC management about a possible takeover and is deciding whether to launch a bid.
    • If it does, it could be the second time GE has faced off against Siemens (OTCPK:SIEGY) over a multibillion-dollar deal in the past six months after competing over the takeover of the energy businesses of Alstom in June.
    • Siemens reportedly is in talks with DRC about a ~$80/share offer, and Swiss industrial pump maker Sulzer (OTC:SULZF) has said it is in talks with the U.S. oilfield equipment manufacturer about a possible merger.
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  • 2:22 PM
    • Iliad's (OTC:ILIAF) talks with KKR and other investment firms to make a joint bid for T-Mobile USA (TMUS -1%) haven't yet borne fruit, Bloomberg reports. The French carrier's $33/share bid for a 56.6% stake was shot down last month.
    • Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), recently reported to be open to a $35/share offer for T-Mobile USA, is said to be split on whether it should "sell its only growing asset."
    • Bloomberg adds Iliad has "discussed raising as much as $5 billion in additional debt and equity for a sweetened offer." Likely acting as a hurdle: T-Mobile, which has over $17B in debt, is investing heavily to build out its 4G network and grow its spectrum portfolio, and is sacrificing margins to gain share, isn't a conventional P-E target.
    • Prior T-Mobile/Iliad coverage
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  • 1:59 PM
    • Vodafone (VOD +0.1%) is buying 140 stores from Phones4u, a U.K. phone retailer that was recently taken into administration. 900 former Phones4u employees will be hired along the way.
    • As one would expect, the stores will be re-branded under Vodafone's name. Until this year, Phones4u had a partnership with Vodafone, as well as fellow U.K. carriers EE and O2.
    • Vodafone's U.K. ops saw their service revenue fall 3.2% Y/Y in the June quarter to £1.47B, as enterprise, prepaid, and wireline declines offset postpaid growth.
    | 1 Comment
  • 12:26 PM
    • Renova, a holding company of Russian oligarch Victor Vekselberg, says it has bought a 4.99% stake in Dresser-Rand (DRC +10.2%), adding a twist to recent speculation on DRC's future.
    • Renova also holds a 33.19% stake in Swiss pump maker Sulzer (OTC:SULZF), which said earlier this week it was in talks with the U.S. company about a potential deal.
    • A new report says Siemens (OTCPK:SIEGY) is preparing a $6B-plus offer for DRC.
    • Meanwhile, DRC is downgraded to Sell at Gabelli, which says shares have run up too far on the M&A talk; also, a potential antitrust review, while likely not an obstacle, could mean a deal close would be 6-9 months out.
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  • 11:23 AM
    • SAP (SAP -3.9%) investors have a case of sticker shock after the company agreed to pay $8.3B (to be financed through a credit facility) to buy cloud travel/expense management software leader Concur Technologies. The acquisition price is equal to 9.6x Concur's estimated FY15 (ends Sep. '15) sales.
    • On the other hand, enterprise cloud software names are rallying on hopes of fresh deal activity. CRM +1.5%. N +2.7%. NOW +2.6%. PAYC +5%. ULTI +2.2%. JIVE +1.8%. DWRE +1.8%. MKTO +1.7%.
    • SAP CEO Bill McDermott proclaims combining Concur's products with Ariba's cloud procurement/B2B marketplace offerings and Fieldglass' cloud labor-management software will help his company redefine "how businesses conduct commerce across goods and services, contingent workforces, travel and entertainment."
    • McDermott also praises Concur's corporate travel ecosystem, which includes Hertz, Delta, Expedia, Sabre, and many others, and sees an opportunity to create real-time travel collaboration tools running on SAP's Hana in-memory database. SAP notes only 30% of Concur customers are currently SAP clients, yielding plenty of cross-selling opportunities.
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  • 8:26 AM
    • Horizon Pharma (NASDAQ:HZNP) shareholders approve its acquisition of Irish biotech Vidara Therapeutics. It plans to shift its domicile to Ireland today making it the first U.S. company to complete a tax inversion deal.
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  • 8:05 AM
    • Grifols S.A. (NASDAQ:GRFS) (OTCQB:GIFLF) acquires 50% of of Mondragon Health spin-off Kiro Robotics for €21M in cash. Kiro specializes in the automation of machinery for the hospital sector, specifically equipment to automate and control key points of hospital processes like pharmacy. Its lead product is the Kiro Oncology robot which automates the preparation of IV medication for chemotherapy treatment.
    • In addition to its monetary investment, Grifols will promote the Kiro Oncology robot in international markets including the U.S. It will commence direct marketing in Spain, Portugal and Latin America in January 2016.
    • As part of the deal, Grifols enters into a joint venture with Kiro's other shareholders involving the management of the company.
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  • 7:39 AM
    • PAR Technology (NYSE:PAR) announces the acquisition of Brink Software for an undisclosed amount.
    • The company notes that Brink has cloud-based POS software which will be complementary to its services for the hospitality industry.
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  • 6:50 AM
    • Siemens (OTCPK:SIEGY) is planning to offer more than $6.1B, or $80/share, for Dresser-Rand (NYSE:DRC), Reuters reports quoting Germany's Manager Magazin.
    • Siemens' move could trigger a bidding war with Sulzer (OTC:SULZF), which announced on Wednesday that it is in advanced talks for a merger with the compressor and turbine maker.
    • DRC +4.1% premarket
    | Comment!
  • 4:31 AM
    • Arkema (OTC:ARKAF) has made a €1.7B ($2.2B) offer for Total's (NYSE:TOT) adhesives business Bostik, which follows last week's reports that the French oil major was looking to sell the business. Arkema itself was spun out of Total in 2006.
    • In recent years Total has announced its plans to sell between $15B-$20B of non-oil-producing assets and others with falling profitability by 2015, as part of a program to improve its cash flow and profitability.
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  • Thursday, September 18, 2014

  • 6:56 PM
    • Once their merger officially closes, RF Micro (NASDAQ:RFMD) and TriQuint (NASDAQ:TQNT) will be known as Qorvo, and trade under the symbol QRVO.
    • The companies (or their marketing departments) claim the new name "conveys the combined company's ability to deliver the core technologies and innovation that will enable customers to launch their next-generation designs even faster."
    • RF Micro and TriQuint shareholders have already approved the all-stock merger, which will result in each investor base owning about half of the post-merger company.
  • 5:24 PM
    • SAP is paying $129/share, or an enterprise value of $8.3B, to acquire top cloud travel/expense management software vendor Concur Technologies (NASDAQ:CNQR). The price represents a 20% premium to Concur's Thursday close.
    • The deal is expected to close in Q4 2014 or Q1 2015, and will be financed using a €7B credit facility. SAP notes Concur claims 23K+ customers and 25M+ active users.
    • The purchase is the latest in a string of major cloud software acquisitions by SAP, which is counting on cloud growth to offset slumping traditional license sales. Other major cloud-related purchases include SuccessFactors, Ariba, and hybris.
    • Previous: Concur reportedly approached SAP, Oracle about acquisition
  • 5:00 PM
    • Bloomberg reported on Sep. 2 Concur (NASDAQ:CNQR) had approached SAP and Oracle to gauge their interest in an acquisition.
    | 1 Comment
  • 4:56 PM
    • EPIQ has "commenced a process to explore a full range of strategic and financial alternatives, which may include among other things, acquisitions, divestitures or a going-private or recapitalization transaction."
    • The company has also adopted a poison pill. Its moves come after activist St. Dnis J. Vilere & Co. (16% stake) called on Epiq to put itself on sale.
    • Shares are halted. They'll resume trading at 5:15PM ET.
    • Update (6:30PM): Epiq is up just 0.5% AH after resuming trading. Shares had rallied strongly yesterday in response to Vilere & Co.'s move.
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  • 4:08 PM
    • GNC Holdings (NYSE:GNC) will consider its options after hearing from P-E firms, according to reports.
    • Vitamin Shoppe (NYSE:VSI) is also on the M&A radar with Reuters reporting a group of shareholders are pushing the company to look to sell itself.
    • One rather natural idea that's been bandied around for a while has been a GNC-VSI combination.
    • GNC +0.4% AH after a late-day spike to push shares up above $41. VSI was also a late bloomer on the day off the buzz.
  • 3:12 PM
  • 2:44 PM
    • Oi (OIBR +2.6%) plans to sell its 75% stake in Africatel, a holding company for carriers in Angola, Namibia, and other African markets, following a dispute with Helios Investors (owns the remaining 25%).
    • Bloomberg reports Oi values Africatel, which it obtained through the Portugal Telecom deal, at $2.1B; that implies a $1.6B valuation for its stake.
    • The Brazilian carrier has been looking to pare its debt load - net debt stood at $20.3B at the end of Q2 - and has also reportedly been looking to acquire a stake in Telecom Italia's Brazilian unit. TI, in turn, has been rumored to be weighing an acquisition of Oi.
    | 1 Comment
  • 2:27 PM
    • TransCanada (TRP +2.3%) spikes on a Reuters report that it is emerging as a possible M&A target, with several U.S. activist hedge funds reviewing the pipeline operator as a break-up candidate.
    • Discussions about a potential campaign are in the early stages, but some of TRP's largest shareholders are said to have been contacted by hedge funds interested in a shake-up.
    • The actions also have sparked discussion by TRP's board about its strategic direction, according to the report.
  • 1:30 PM
    • Bass Pro Shops hires Moelis to help it explore financing options.
    • Sources say a sale of a minority stake, likely to a P-E firm, would value the retailer in the billions.
    • A capital-heavy Bass Pro could pose a threat to Cabela's (CAB -0.8%) and to a lesser extent Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) if expansion is part of the plan.
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