Today - Friday, March 7, 2014
- ExOne (XONE +2.1%) has bought MWT, a German maker of industrial microwaves, and the assets of Machin-A-Mation, a Michigan-based machining shop. Between them, the acquisitions cost $9.8M.
- The 3D printer maker says MWT's microwaves will be used to strengthen its sand printing offerings, and that Machina-A-Mation, located near an ExOne production service center focused on aerospace/shipbuilding clients, will help it "address the finishing requirements for complex parts which are cast from [ExOne's] 3D printed sand molds."
- MWT's microwave ops will be folded into ExOne's Augsburg, Germany manufacturing ops.
- Sources tell Reuters (translation) Vodafone (VOD -2.8%) has raised its bid for Spanish cable giant ONO, and has reached a preliminary deal with ONO shareholders collectively possessing a controlling stake.
- No word on the specific offer price. Vodafone was previously reported to have made a rejected €7B ($9.6B) bid for ONO.
- One source states Vodafone plans to formally present its offer before ONO's board meets on March 13 to approve recently-announced plans to pursue an IPO.
- Vodafone is selling off on the report. A successful Vodafone bid for ONO, coming on the heels of its $14.2B Kabel Deutschland acquisition, could lower the odds AT&T (T +0.3%) will make an offer for the company once its 6-month waiting period ends. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has reportedly told investors further cable acquisitions by Vodafone would complicate a deal.
9:06 AM| Comment!
- Amcol International (ACO) has told Paris-based Imerys (IMYSF) that it has four working days to match Minerals Technologies' (MTX) increased rival offer of $1.48B, which Amcol's board has said is superior to that of Imerys.
- Minerals' proposal is worth $45.75 a share, 50 cents above Imerys' latest bid on Tuesday, although Amcol didn't change its recommendation in favor of a deal with the French company.
- One of the attractions of Amcol is that it has large reserves of bentonite, an important material for the construction and energy sectors. (PR)
Thursday, March 6, 2014
- Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ) +4.1% AH on speculation from the Daily Mail that Rio Tinto (RIO) is preparing to bid ~$8/share for the outstanding 49.2% of the company it doesn't already own.
- Billionaire Robert Friedland holds 3% of TRQ is said to have been against selling out to RIO until recently.
- TRQ holds 66% of the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, but progress on the $6B second stage of the project has been held up by RIO’s inability to strike an agreement with the Mongolian government.
- As rumored, Supermarket chain owner Albertsons, controlled by an investor group led by P-E firm Cerberus, is acquiring Safeway (SWY). Investors are unhappy with the specific deal terms. (PR)
- Albertson's will pay $32.50/share in cash, distribute proceeds from the sale of Safeway's real estate subsidiary assets and Casa Ley stake (estimated value of $3.65/share), and distribute Safeway's 37.8M Blackhawk Network (HAWK) shares (current value of $3.95/share).
- The deal is expected to close in Q4, has a $400M termination fee, and comes with a 21-day go-shop period. Albertsons plans to fund the deal with the help of $7.6B in debt financing.
- "I don’t want to insist on [U.S. mobile] consolidation, but I don’t want to rule it out," says Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY, DTEGF) CEO Tim Hoettges.
- The remarks come after Hoettges reportedly told DT's board he considers a sale of 67%-owned T-Mobile USA (TMUS -1.8%) unlikely in the near-term, given regulatory opposition to a bid from Sprint (S -3.6%) and parent SoftBank (SFTBF, SFTBY).
- Citing T-Mobile USA's aggressive investments, DT now expects its 2015 free cash flow to only be up "slightly" from 2014 levels. The carrier previously forecast 2015 FCF to rise to €6B ($8.3B) after hitting €4.2B ($5.8B) in 2014.
- Sources tell Bloomberg Hoettges is now "taking a long-term view in the U.S.," and is focused on converting more of T-Mobile's giant prepaid base into postpaid subs.
- DT shares fell 3.6% in Frankfurt. Both T-Mobile and Sprint are selling off in U.S. trading.
- More on Sprint/T-Mobile
- Alnylam Pharamaceuticals (ALNY) finalizes its buy of Merck's (MRK) Sirna Therapeutics that was previously disclosed on January 12.
- The total purchase price is $175M ($25M cash and $150M in ALNY common stock).
- The transaction represents a significant haircut for Merck considering the $1.1B cash price it paid for Sirna in 2006.
- Another day, another raised bid for Amcol (ACO), as Minerals Technologies (MTX) increases its offer to acquire the minerals and materials producer to $45.75/share.
- The new bid surpasses the $45.25 offered two days ago by Imerys (IMYSF), the French-based company ACO clearly prefers in concluding a deal.
- Bouygues (BOUYY) has offered €10.5B ($14.42B) to acquire a 49% controlling stake in Vivendi's (VIVHY, VIVEF) SFR mobile unit.
- Bouygues would then merge its telecom subsidiary with SFR and list the combined entity as soon as possible.
- Vivendi would be left with a 46% holding after the merger and advertising firm JCDecaux 5%.
- However, the deal would probably face a tough regulatory review given that SFR and Bouygues Telecom are the number two and three mobile operators in France by subscribers.
- Bouygues also faces competition for SFR from Amsterdam-listed Altice, which has reportedly offered €11B in a deal that would leave Vivendi with 30%+ of the new company.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
- "One day I want you to become bigger than us in number of users ... What you guys do is a much more common-use case," Mark Zuckerberg (FB +4%) told WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum as they hammered out Facebook's $19B acquisition of the mobile messaging leader, according to a Forbes cover story.
- The talks reportedly started after Facebook exec Amin Zoufonoun learned Koum was meeting Google's Larry Page - Google has denied bidding for WhatsApp, and Koum says he got no sign Page was interested in doing so. Zuck initially "offered a range of $15 billion and higher;" Koum pushed for $20B.
- Forbes also makes note of WhatsApp focus on speed and simplicity. The company relies on the messaging-centric Erlang programming language and open-source FreeBSD OS, considers features such as stickers and in-app games (embraced by rivals) "junk," and for now is only charging in markets where mobile payments/billing are simple and mature.
- Om Malik obseres WhatsApp has been successful striking deals with carriers for service plans that provide access to WhatsApp but no other data services, and that Facebook, contending with a slew of apps that collectively "unbundle" its core services, has been trying to reach similar deals.
- Earlier: Facebook rallies on Stifel PT hike
- HomeAway (AWAY +0.3%) has acquired Glad to Have You, a top developer of private-label apps that allow property owners/managers to interact with guests. Terms for the all-cash deal are undisclosed.
- Glad offers two solutions: GladOwners, a basic offering that historically goes for $100/year, and GladProfessional, a high-end offering that provides more scale and a handful of extra features, including push notifications and guest analytics.
- HomeAway is offering GladOwners for free to customers. GladProfessional, currently used by 300+ property management companies, won't see its pricing change.
- The purchase comes on the heels of HomeAway's $198M acquisition of Australian vacation rental marketplace Stayz.
- Vivendi (VIVHY, VIVEF) has confirmed both cable giant Numericable and telecom/construction conglomerate Bouygues have made bids for its SFR mobile unit. The company adds each bid comes with financing commitments.
- Reuters has reported Numericable's bid values SFR at €15B ($20.6B), and would give Vivendi a 30% stake in the post-merger company.
- Regulators would likely give less scrutiny to a deal with Numericable than one with Bouygues, given the former wouldn't lower France's mobile carrier count. Either deal could yield a tougher competitor for SFR rivals Orange (ORAN +1%) and Iliad (Free).
- As of September, Orange had 26.8M subs, SFR had 21M, Bouygues had 11.1M, and Iliad had 7.4M.
- Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY, DTEGF) Tim Hoettges says a sale of 67%-owned T-Mobile USA (TMUS +0.1%) is unlikely anytime soon. T-Mobile and Sprint (S -0.5%) have both moved moderately lower in response.
- The WSJ reported yesterday SoftBank's (SFTBF, SFTBY) Masayoshi Son plans to mount a PR campaign to convince skeptical businesses and policy makers regarding the value of a Sprint/T-Mobile merger.
- Sprint/SoftBank have been widely reported to be lining up financing for a T-Mobile bid.
- If TPG Capital and Leonard Green can land the reported $5B from Fast Retailing for J. Crew it would mark the largest sale ever for an apparel company.
- The deal price is also 3X the average revenue multiple in the industry and could end talk of an IPO for the retail brand.
- The lush premium is an indication that Japan-based Fast Retailing in very eager to have a larger presence in the U.S.
- With Bazaarvoice's (BV +16.9%) shares having closed yesterday near their 52-week low of $6.45, investors are paying more attention to the company's FQ3 beat than the light FQ4 guidance - revenue of $44.9M-$45.9M and EPS of -$0.12 to -$0.12 vs. a consensus of $46.3M and -$0.09 - it provided on its CC (transcript).
- Bazaarvoice ended FQ3 with 1,308 enterprise clients, up 19 Q/Q. Total customers rose to 3,300+ from 3,200+, and the company's deferred revenue balance grew to $55.7M from $53M.
- CEO Eugene Austin mentioned Bazaarvoice has "received significant interest from multiple parties" for its PowerReviews unit, following a January court ruling backing a DOJ suit opposing Bazaarvoice's 2012 acquisition of PowerReviews.
- Morgan Stanley (Equal-Weight) thinks the FQ3 results "showed some signs of improved execution." But it also notes "low-end attrition continues to weigh on net adds," and believes "distractions" related to PowerReviews are still an overhang.
- Bloomberg reports Telefonica (TEF) is near a deal to buy Spanish media giant Prisa's 56% stake in satellite TV unit Canal+ for €800M ($1.1B). Sources state Telefonica, which already owns 22% of Canal+, might pay for the purchase with cash.
- Telefonica COO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete (his role was recently expanded) has already expressed interest in buying Prisa's Canal+ stake.
- News of the deal comes as Spanish cable giant ONO explores an IPO and reportedly holds "tentative" acquisition talks with Telefonica rival Vodafone.
- The total transaction value will be about $6.5M with Provident Community Bancshares (PCBS) owners receiving $0.78 per share (vs. last night's close of $0.31) and the U.S. Treasury being paid for its holdings of preferred stock in the bank.
- Upon closing, Park Sterling (PSTB) will have about $2.3B in assets, $1.9B in deposits, $1.4B in loans, and a network of 54 offices in the Carolinas, Virginia, and North Georgia.
- Press release
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
- Amcol (ACO) approves another sweetened takeover offer from Imerys (IMYSF) worth $45.25/share, edging yesterday's rival bid from Minerals Technology (MTX) and $2.50/share more than last month's approved offer from Imerys.
- ACO says its board approved the offer and values the deal at $1.7B, including its debt; the company, the world's largest producer of bentonite, has said Imerys' bids are superior to the ones from MTX.