Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Sunday, December 21, 2014

  • 7:09 AM
    • "I consider it unlikely that Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) will return with a bid," reports Swedish business daily Dagens Industri quoting AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) CEO Pascal Soriot. "I can't say it will never happen, but the probability that Pfizer returns is much less."
    • Although British takeover rules now allow Pfizer to renew its pursuit of AstraZeneca, the recent U.S. clampdown on tax inversions makes an acquisition unlikely.
    • Pfizer also reached a major cancer drug deal with Merck KGaA last month, reducing its need for AstraZeneca's products.
    • Previously: Astrazeneca cools speculation for another takeover bid (Nov. 28 2014)
    | Comment!
  • Saturday, December 20, 2014

  • 9:05 AM
    • Safeway (NYSE:SWY) and Albertsons have agreed to sell 168 stores across eight states, mostly in the western U.S., in a bid to gain merger approval from U.S. antitrust regulators.
    • The companies, which together own ~2,400 stores, say they expect the buyers to hire most, if not all existing store workers.
    • The biggest beneficiary of the deal appears to be the Haggen chain, which is purchasing 146 stores and adding ~$750M in sales.
  • Friday, December 19, 2014

  • 4:55 PM
    • News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS) has bought, a site that "aims to help Indian consumers make smarter financial decisions through interactive, decision-making tools powered by sophisticated algorithms and data." Terms are undisclosed.
    • With News Corp. stating has "helped some 40,000 users," the site appears to have a fairly small base as of now. Last month, News Corp. spent $30M to take a 25% stake in Indian real estate site
    | Comment!
  • 4:33 PM
    • S&W Seed (NASDAQ:SANW) agrees to acquire of all of DuPont Pioneer's (NYSE:DD) alfalfa production and research facility assets, as well as all non-GMO alfalfa germplasm, for up to $42M.
    • S&W also agrees to be DuPont Pioneer's sole supplier of alfalfa seed through 2024.
    • S&W expects the alfalfa business to contribute $26M of incremental annual revenues in FY 2015 and $40M in FY 2016.
  • 12:56 PM
    • The Delaware Supreme Court overturns a lower court ruling that had halted a deal by C&J Energy Services (CJES +0.7%) and Nabors Industries (NBR +6.1%), saying there was not enough evidence showing the C&J board had short-changed its shareholders.
    • A lower court last month held up C&J’s merger with a Nabors unit, finding C&J’s board did not adequately shop the company; the situation was unusual in part because C&J's board and management would keep control, while the new entity is to be incorporated in NBR’s home of Bermuda and 53% controlled by NBR.
    | Comment!
  • 10:17 AM
    • Alstom (OTCPK:ALSMY) shareholders overwhelmingly approve the company's plan to sell most of its power equipment business to GE.
    • Alstom had said last month it could return up to €4B ($4.92B) in cash to shareholders from the €12.35B deal.
    • Earlier: Alstom CEO discusses impact of fine on GE deal
  • 7:50 AM
    • Republic Services (NYSE:RSG) has agreed to acquire Tervita LLC, an environmental waste solutions subsidiary of Tervita Corporation.
    • "The acquisition of this vertically integrated operation allows Republic Services to establish a significant platform in the E&P waste sector and positions us well for future growth opportunities," announced CEO of Republic Services Donald Slager.
    | Comment!
  • 1:51 AM
    • Xerox (NYSE:XRX) has agreed to sell its IT outsourcing unit to French IT services firm Atos for $1.05B.
    • "By divesting the slower-growing unit...Xerox can now focus on building up the faster-growing units, business process outsourcing and document outsourcing," said president of Xerox services business Robert Zapfel.
    • Xerox also revised its adjusted earnings forecast of $0.28-$0.30 per share for the current quarter ending Dec. 31 from $0.30-$0.32 per share. Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.31.
    • XRX +3.7% AH
  • Thursday, December 18, 2014

  • 6:14 PM
    • Bloomberg reports Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) is "leaning toward making an all-stock offer" through 67%-owned TIM Participacoes (NYSE:TSU) to merge with Brazilian rival Oi (NYSE:OIBR), should it bid for Oi.
    • However, sources add TI wants a thumbs-up from Brazil's telecom regulator before it makes a move, and is unlikely to decide on its plans before February or March. An all-stock offer would allow debt-laden TI to avoid hurting its credit rating.
    • The latest wrinkle to Brazil's telecom drama comes a week after Bloomberg reported Oi, America Movil/Claro, and Telefonica/Vivo plan to jointly offer $15B for TIM. Such a deal could be easier for regulators to swallow, since it would spread TIM's assets between three carriers.
    • Oi rose 10.7% in regular trading today, aided by a market rally. Shares made a new 52-week low of $0.33 on Wednesday.
    • Prior Oi/TIM coverage
    | 1 Comment
  • 5:42 PM
    • Along with its results, NQ Mobile announces it has signed an MOU with Hong Kong-listed Chinese apparel retailer Tack Fiori, under which Tack proposes to buy NQ's FL Mobile game-publishing unit for $570M-$630M in stock.
    • The shares would be issued at a price representing a 10%-20% discount to Tack's average closing price over the 30 trading days prior to the signing of the MOU. With Tack having a $666M market cap as of today's close, the deal would make NQ Tack's controlling shareholder.
    • NQ previously sold a 3.58% stake in FL to Bison Capital for $15M, and a 0.92% stake to other investors for $3.85M.
    • Q3 results, PR
  • 9:59 AM
    • Germany's Manager Magazin reports Alcatel-Lucent (ALU +4.8%) and Nokia (NOK +0.6%) have revived M&A talks this fall, and could agree to a merger or close partnership.
    • Reuters reported a year ago Nokia was "discussing internally" whether it should pursue a tie-up with Alcatel-Lucent, after reaching a deal to sell its phone unit to Microsoft. The WSJ later reported Nokia had decided not to pursue an Alcatel deal for the time being.
    • Nokia and Alcatel have considerable mobile infrastructure overlap, but a relatively limited amount of wireline equipment overlap. Alcatel's carrier IP networking (router/switch) ops are often seen as the company's most valuable asset.
    • Nokia is currently worth $30B, and Alcatel $9.8B. The latter has been aggressively cutting costs.
  • 8:23 AM
    • Merck (NYSE:MRK) acquires privately-held Lausanne, Switzerland-based Oncoethix for an upfront payment of $110M and up to an additional $265M in clinical and regulatory milestones.
    • Oncoethix's lead product is OTX015, a BET bromodomain inhibitor (2,3,4) currently in Phase 1b development for the treatment of hematological malignancies and advanced solid tumors.
    • Bromodomain proteins 2,3 and 4 are considered potential cancer targets because of their pivotal role in regulating the transcription of growth-promoting genes and cell cycle regulators. In experimental models, the inhibition of BRD2/3/4 produced a potent antiproliferative effect associated with cell cycle arrest and cellular senescence.
    | Comment!
  • 7:58 AM
    • BT (NYSE:BT) is preparing a giant financing package including a £2B share placing to help fund its planned takeover of EE, The Telegraph reports.
    • The share placing will help keep the telecom giant’s level of debt manageable as it faces big bills next year from an increase in pension payments and costs.
    • Several of BT’s top ten investors have said they would support a share placing or rights issue to help finance the deal, worth a total of £12.5B, including £2B of EE debt.
    • BT is also expected to raise around £3B in the bond markets to help win the support of existing shareholders who may be resistant to any greater dilution.
    | Comment!
  • 7:52 AM
    • Alimentation Couche-Tard (OTCPK:ANCUF) agrees to acquire The Pantry (NASDAQ:PTRY), adding more than 1,500 locations to the Canadian company's U.S. network of convenience stores and fuel stops.
    • The deal values PTRY at US$1.7B, including debt, with Couche-Tard paying $36.75/share; PTRY +2.6% premarket after closing yesterday at $35.52, rising 23% amid reports of a deal in the works.
    • Couche-Tard has one of North America's largest network of convenience stores, operating primarily under the Couche-Tard and Mac's banners in Canada and as Circle K throughout the U.S.
    | Comment!
  • 4:35 AM
    • In the next bidding battle for Bisco Misr, Kellogg (NYSE:K) has raised its bid to 86.36 EGP per share, topping a rival offer from the UAE's Abraaj Investment Management, which increased its previous offer by 2%.
    • Previously: Bisco Misr bidding war continues (Nov. 30 2014)
    | Comment!
  • 3:31 AM
    • BGC Partners (NASDAQ:BGCP) has increased its takeover offer for rival interdealer broker GFI Group (NYSE:GFIG) by 3.8%, raising its bid to $5.45 per share.
    • BGC’s chairman and chief executive officer, Howard Lutnick, is looking to consolidate the shrinking interdealer brokerage business by topping CME Group’s (NASDAQ:CME) takeover bid for GFI.
    • CME matched BGC’s previous $5.25 per share offer on Dec. 2.
    • Previously: BGC Partners extends GFI tender for another month (Dec. 09 2014)
    • Previously: CME boosts offer for GFI Group (Dec. 03 2014)
  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014

  • 2:56 PM
    • Teradata (TDC +0.4%) has bought RainStor, a provider of archiving database software that leverages the Hadoop big data framework. Terms are undisclosed.
    • Teradata touts the high compression rates (10x-40x) supported by RainStor's software, as well as the immutability of data copies made with it (important for compliance/security purposes).
    • Earlier this year, Teradata bought big data consulting/services firm Think Big Analytics, big data management software firm Revelytix, and database software firm Hadapt (offers a platform that merges Hadoop with traditional SQL databases). Plenty of analysts have voiced concerns about Hadoop's impact on Teradata's standard data warehousing solutions.
    • Teradata also has a 7% stake leading Hadoop distribution provider Hortonworks.
    | Comment!
  • 2:27 PM
    • Varian Medical Systems (VAR +1.3%) intends to offer €17.50 per share (€30M) to acquire Bremen, Germany-based MeVis Medical Solutions AG, a provider of image processing software and services for cancer screening.
    • MeVis software is used in ~10K clinics around the world.
    | Comment!
  • 11:21 AM
    • NPS Pharmaceuticals (NPSP +21.3%) jumps on increased volume in response to market chatter that Shire plc (SHPG +2.5%) is mulling a bid for the rare disease therapeutics developer.
  • 9:35 AM
    • Visteon (VC +6%) enters an agreement to sell close to 70% of Halla Visteon Climate Control to an affiliate of Hahn & Company for $3.6B.
    • The company says it expects the deal to close in the first half of 2015, but in the meantime is hedging most of the proceeds against currency swings.
    • Shares of Visteon perked up in November after the company confirmed it was in talks over a deal.
    | 1 Comment
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