Gecko Design is an 18-year-old product design/engineering firm that has done work for Dell, H-P, Logitech, and Herman Miller, among others. As usual, Google (GOOG - unchanged) hasn't disclosed an acquisition price.
Gecko will be joining Sergey Brin's secretive Google X unit. Google X projects for which Gecko's hardware skills could be of value include Glass (still awaiting a full commercial launch) and Google's self-driving car effort.
Google has already been working with eyewear vendors to make Glass more aesthetically pleasing (and less conspicuous). Meanwhile, the company showed off its first internally-designed self-driving car prototypes in May; they have no steering wheels or pedals.
Reuters reports Neustar (NSR +5.8%) has received interest from P-E firms, and is working with JPMorgan to review its options.
Sources add a formal sale process might not start until the winner of a major government phone number management contract is awarded. Neustar fell in June after an e-mail suggested Ericsson is close to landing the deal.
Shares have jumped above $30 on the report. They remain well below a 52-week high of $53.96.
IPC The Hospitalist Company (IPCM -0.1%) acquires Daytona Beach-based Eddin Medical Services and Orlando area-based TriCounty Hospitalists. Both practices represent ~31K patient visits per year. Financial terms are not disclosed.
According to Reuters, Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX +0.9%) and Pershing Square plan to submit their request to Allergan (AGN -0.4%) for a special shareholders meeting today. CNBC reports that they have the support of shareholders who hold over 30% of AGN's common stock.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -0.7%) invests $20M in the form of a convertible note in regenerative medicine company ViaCyte in exchange for a future equity stake and the rights to its type 1 diabetes combination product candidate VC-01.
VC-01 works by loading pancreatic progenitor cells into a proprietary device that is implanted under the skin. The progenitor cells then mature into insulin-producing cells that assist the under-producing pancreas.
In his order denying Allergan's (AGN -1%) motion to expedite its lawsuit against Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX +0.3%) and Pershing Square, Judge David Carter mentioned that Pershing Square has the votes to call a special meeting of shareholders. Allergan must call the meeting within 120 days after at least 25% of its shareholders request it in a Delaware court.
The company's pursuers intend to use the meeting to oust six of the firm's directors and replace them with people favoring their proposed acquisition.
Vodafone (VOD +1.3%) is paying €72.7M ($97M) to acquire a 72.7% stake in Greek broadband/phone service provider Hellas Online. The deal will bring Vodafone's total stake above 91%, and is expected to close in Q4.
Hellas had 519K customers at the end of 2013, good for an estimated 11% local share. It had 2013 revenue of €227.4M, and EBITDA of €68.4M.
The deal follows Vodafone's acquisitions of German cable provider Kabel Deutschland and Spanish cable provider ONO, as the carrier pushes ahead with its goal of offering mobile/wireline bundles (both by itself, and via partnerships) throughout Europe.
Separately, The Daily Mail has passed on a rumor that AT&T's (NYSE:T) advisers are now "working around the clock on a cash bid worth more than £3 a share" for Vodafone.
The rumor should be taken with a heavy dose of salt, given 1) AT&T is currently preoccupied with closing the DirecTV acquisition. 2) it implies AT&T would be paying a 46% premium to Vodafone's current London trading price, and valuing the company at ~$130B. 3) AT&T, which has a $179B market cap and $84B in debt, would be very hard-pressed to finance a ~$130B deal solely with cash.
A 6-month prohibition on an AT&T bid for Vodafone ended in July. However, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson stated in March "the window may be closing" for his company to acquire European wireless assets, and is reportedly unhappy with Vodafone's wireline expansion efforts.
Japanese passive component/RF module maker Murarta (OTCPK:MRAAF) is acquiring Peregrine Semi (NASDAQ:PSMI) for $12.50/share, or $471M, in cash. The price represents a 63% premium to Peregrine's Thursday close.
The companies declare Peregrine's RF front end product line and silicon on insulator (SOI) process expertise complement mobile RF offerings. The deal is expected to close in late 2014 or early 2015.
Allergan's (NYSE:AGN) request to advance its lawsuit against Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX) and Pershing Square has been denied by a California federal judge.
Allergan claims the two engaged in insider trading ahead of their takeover bid, saying their unusual partnership violated securities regulations.
Pershing Square's Bill Ackman began acquiring a stake in Allergan in February in partnership with Valeant after the two had begun discussing offering a bid for the company. Ackman only disclosed his ~10% stake the day before they made the offer.
Some observers believe Pfizer (PFE -0.4%) will rekindle its bid for AstraZeneca (AZN +3%) by late 2014. The British firm rejected its ₤71B offer in May. Pfizer walked away despite being within 7% of the price AstraZeneca wanted.
Under British takeover rules, the negotiations could restart as early as August 26 if AstraZeneca invites Pfizer back to the table. Pfizer cannot initiate discussions until November 26. The rules also allow Pfizer to make a single offer via private phone call to AstraZeneca but this option is rarely used because the process stops if the target says no.
It all depends on Ian Read's enthusiasm for a higher bid. This may be unlikely considering what happened in May.
Aviation site RGN states "Wall Street is now buzzing that Verizon might be studying a potential joint venture, acquisition or partnership" with GOGO.
Verizon archrival AT&T announced plans in April to offer U.S. in-flight Wi-Fi services "as soon as late 2015;" Gogo tumbled on the news. Meanwhile, RGN has previously stated Gogo rival Row 44 is rumored to be on the block. Verizon exited the in-flight telecom services market after Gogo purchased spectrum in '06.
Analyst Tim Farrar: "I think that an interest in Gogo would certainly make sense because life is getting increasingly difficult for standalone connectivity providers ... When you have the big boys coming in from the equipment side, the Panasonic and Honeywell-types of the world, and also the terrestrial connectivity side in terms of AT&T, you’ve got to pick your partners."
Dollar General (NYSE:DG) states that Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) CEO Howard Levine, ignored multiple requests to pursue a merger even prior to Dollar Tree's (NASDAQ:DLTR) $74.50-a-share offer.
Rick Dreiling, CEO of Dollar General claims that Levine shrugged off the requests out of fear he would be forced to step down as CEO.
Earlier this week, Family Dollar's board announced that it would review Dollar General's $78.50-a-share offer, but continued to recommend shareholders vote for its $74.50-a-share deal with Dollar Tree.
Bloomberg reports Allergan (NYSE:AGN) isn't currently in active buyout talks with Salix (NASDAQ:SLXP). Though Allergan approached Salix about a deal in recent months, the talks are currently "dormant," and Allergan is exploring other options to thwart Valeant's hostile bid.
SLXP -2.7% AH. Shares rose over 15% yesterday after the WSJ reported Allergan has approached Salix about a potential deal. They fell 2.3% in regular trading today.
CloudVolumes asserts its software allows companies to "deliver any number of applications and any amount of data to any number of virtual machines within milliseconds or seconds." It offers products for both server and PC virtualization platforms, and also for migrating/delivering apps on cloud-based servers.
The synergies with VMware's (VMW, EMC) server and PC virtualization platforms, each of which have been dealing with tough competition, are easy to see. As it is, CloudVolumes' software integrates with VMware's vCloud Automation Center (aims to automate IT service delivery).
VMware hasn't disclosed the acquisition price. The company predicts the combination of CloudVolumes and VMware's Horizon (PC/app virtualization) platform will "allow customers to build a real-time application delivery system that enables all applications to be centrally managed, always available and up-to-date, and delivered to virtualized environments for desktop, server or cloud on-demand."
The paper states Vodafone, hungry to expand after receiving its Verizon Wireless windfall, would prefer to enter Brazil by taking a majority stake in one of the country's 3 top mobile carriers - giants Telefonica and America Movil control the other two - rather than by participating in an upcoming 4G spectrum auction.
TIM is estimated to have 26.9% of the Brazilian market, Telefonica's Vivo 28.7%, and America Movil's Claro 24.9%.
TI's own M&A plans could stand in the way of a Vodafone offer: The Italian carrier is reportedly weighing a bid to acquire Brazilian wireline carrier GVT, with the goal of trumping an existing offer from Telefonica and merging GVT with TIM.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) and Bill Ackman filed a countersuit in California yesterday in response to Allergan's (AGN -0.2%) lawsuit alleging the two pursuers breached insider trading laws.
In addition to the well-known argument that their agreement is legal, they assert cloak and dagger-type activities by Allergan such as secretly recorded telephone conversations, "highly unusual" investor road shows to Valeant's home country of Canada and "unusual" executive transitions.
With the exception of the lawyers involved, everyone else is most assuredly fatigued over the ongoing acrimony surrounding Valeant's hostile bid.