Microsoft's best chance to win approval for its $69bn Activision Blizzard deal from US regulators is to persuade the Biden administration to accept a settlement in which the Xbox maker pledges it won’t withhold its popular titles from rivals, Bloombergreported.
That’s a very long shot given Biden’s antitrust enforcers aren’t fond of such agreements -- especially after Ticketmaster blowup put the spotlight back on a failed 2010 Justice Department settlement with Live Nation Entertainment.
T. Rowe Price raises concerns about News' merger with Fox. (FS)
T. Rowe Price, a major shareholder of News, said that it has strong reservations about the plans of its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, to combine the two parts of his media business, News and Fox - the biggest indicator yet that Mr. Murdoch could face significant opposition, New York Timesreported.
T. Rowe Price, which owns about 12% of News making it the company’s largest shareholder after the Murdoch family - said that a merger of the two companies would probably undervalue News, which it believes is trading for less than the company is worth. It also said that because the Murdoch family owns a bigger share of Fox than News, the family’s interests may lie more with Fox.
The deal, which could put Fox News under the same corporate umbrella as The Wall Street Journal, would reverse a decision made nearly a decade ago to divide the company’s film and TV holdings from its sprawling global portfolio of newspapers.
Brenntag in takeover talks with Univar.
Brenntag, a German chemical distribution company, said it held preliminary discussions with Univar Solutions regarding a potential acquisition, as the German chemicals distributor seeks to expand its footprint in the United States.
The move comes after Brenntag Chief Executive Christian Kohlpain this month said the company is eyeing the North American market with more interest and plans to double annual spending in mergers and acquisitions.
Brenntag said the Univar talks are ongoing and that it was not foreseeable whether there will be any kind of transaction. Brenntag has said it plans to double its annual spending for mergers and acquisitions to between $416m and $520m as part of a strategic growth plan, Reutersreported.
Carlos Slim’s Inbursa no longer seeks to buy Citi’s Banamex.
Billionaire Carlos Slim’s bank Grupo Financiero Inbursa is no longer vying to buy Citigroup’s Mexican retail banking arm Banamex, leaving only two known contenders for the acquisition.
“Following submission of a non-binding proposal for the businesses in question, the parties mutually agreed that Inbursa will not be continuing to the next stages of the process,” Inbursa.
Stonepeak Partners eyes as much as $20bn for North America infrastructure fund. (FS)
Private equity firm Stonepeak Partners is aiming to raise between $15bn and $20bn for its next flagship North American infrastructure fund to invest in assets such as utilities, data centers, ports and railways.
The fundraising plans underscore strong demand from investors for infrastructure assets, whose inflation-linked cash flows provide a shield from soaring prices. Stonepeak completed raising $14bn for such a fund only nine months ago. Private equity funds of this size are typically spaced out by at least a couple of years to have enough time to deploy their capital.
Stonepeak has begun contacting investors to gauge their interest in the fund launch, which is expected next year. Stonepeak has also began raising its first global "core" infrastructure fund, with an initial target of $5bn, and the firm is aiming to reach its first fundraising close by the end of this year, Reutersreported.
Binance mulls $1bn recovery fund for distressed assets. (FS)
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is aiming for a roughly $1bn fund for the potential purchase of distressed assets in the digital sector, citing an interview with Chief Executive Officer Changpeng Zhao.
Zhao hinted at the possibility of allocating more funds in the interview. Zhao said while speaking at a conference in Abu Dhabi that there was significant interest from industry players in a recovery fund his company plans to launch to help cryptocurrency projects facing a liquidity squeeze, following the collapse of rival FTX.
EU antitrust regulators cleared with conditions French car leasing company ALD's bid for Dutch rival LeasePlan after the Societe Generale unit agreed to divest some businesses across Europe to address competition concerns.
ALD announced the $5.5bn deal in January, which would give it ownership of the biggest electric vehicle fleet in Europe. The European Commission said ALD agreed to sell its operational leasing businesses in Ireland, Norway, Portugal and LeasePlan's businesses in the Czech Republic, Finland and Luxembourg to address competition worries, Reutersreported.
Aveva shareholders have backed an improved offer for the UK software developer from France’s Schneider Electric, ending a takeover battle that will strip the London market of one of its major technology companies.
The two companies said that enough investors had accepted Schneider’s revised price of $39 per share, an increase on an initial bid of $37.5 per share that some had rejected as opportunistic. Including debt, the deal values Aveva at $12.8bn, FTreported.
Saria, a company which operates internationally as a manufacturer of quality products for animal nutrition, agriculture, aquaculture and industrial applications, agreed to acquire Devro, a manufacturer of collagen products for the food industry, for $653m.
"The proposed combination of Devro and the SARIA group will bring together two leading international businesses with complementary product portfolios, particularly in the sausage casings market, providing a platform for sustainable and scalable growth in highly attractive and dynamic categories," Harald van Boxtel, Saria Chief Executive Officer.
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, a priavte equity firm, agreed to acquire a 25% stake in SSEN Transmission, an energy transmission company, from SSE, an energy company, for £1.46bn ($1.8bn).
“SSEN Transmission is one of Europe’s fastest growing transmission networks. Its network stretches across some of the most challenging terrain in Scotland – from the North Sea and across the Highlands – to deliver safe, reliable, renewable energy to demand centres across the UK. We’re delighted to partner again with SSE and are committed to supporting the growth of its network and the vital role it plays in the UK’s green energy revolution," Charles Thomazi, OTPPB Senior Managing Director.
OTPPB is advised by Evercore, Linklaters and Kekst CNC (led by Oliver Mann). SSE is advised by Morgan Stanley, Rothschild & Co and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (led by Julian Pritchardand Nicholas Jones).
Indutrade, a technology and industrial group, agreed to acquire a 70% stake in Palas Holding, a manufacturer of high-precision instruments, from Brockhaus Technologies, a technology group, for €70m ($72m).
“Palas has extensive technical expertise and offers high-quality products with leading technology that helps improve air quality levels across the globe. The company has a solid track record of sustainable, organic growth and high profitability. Underpinned by strong underlying market forces, they have a clear path for continued organic growth and we are happy to welcome them to the Indutrade family," Bo Annvik, Indutrade President and CEO.
Invesdor Group, a digital fundraising and investing company, agreed to merge with Unknown Group-backed Oneplanetcrowd, a cloudfunding platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“This merger paves the way to accelerate European innovation and the energy transition in the EU. Focussing on growth companies and sustainable energy projects, we are the first platform in the EU to offer this broad range of sustainable financing propositions, connecting investors, project developers and companies in different EU member states," Christopher Grätz, Invesdor Co-Founder and CEO.
Czechoslovak Group, an aerospace and defense company, completed the acquisition of a 70% stake in Fiocchi Munizioni, a manufacturer of ammunition. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"This transaction marks a major milestone for the entire CSG, as the investment in Fiocchi is the largest financial investment in the history of our group. Today we become the majority shareholder and partner of a global leader in the field of small-caliber ammunition, with a solid presence in NATO countries. Fiocchi Munizioni, like CSG, has been built by several generations of the Fiocchi family. We consider the Fiocchi family's commitment to the management and development of the company to be a strong asset and we want to further develop the company in close partnership with them," Michal Strnad, CSG Chairman.
KKR completed the acquisition of a majority stake in April Group, an insurance brokerage firm, from CVC Capital Partners, a private equity firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The APRIL Group was created 35 years ago by a visionary entrepreneur. After a great collaboration with CVC Capital Partners, April recovered its original strength. Our aim is to continue the history of this great company and to make it a French champion on a global scale. This next chapter will be enabled by the management team, our 2.3k employees, and KKR, for the benefit of our partners and policyholders,” Eric Maumy, April President & CEO.
April Group was advised by Monet + Associés.
Nucleus Financial is in advanced talks to acquire Curtis Banks.
Nucleus Financial Platforms, a financial services company, is in advanced talks to acquire Curtis Banks, a provider of personal pension schemes.
The UK financial-services company said that Nucleus is conducting detailed confirmatory due diligence, but cautioned that there's no certainty any deal will be struck.
Curtis Banks is advised by Fenchurch Advisory Partners, Peel Hunt and Instinctif Partners. Nucleus is advised by TB Cardew and Evercore.
Brookfield, an investment company, completed the acquisition of Trimco, a global supplier of identity branding items such as labels, hangtags, badges, care & content labels, from Affinity, a private equity firm, for $900m.
The Toronto-based alternative asset manager may seek to expand Trimco globally over the long term, both organically and via acquisitions.
New Delhi considers selling stakes in its mammoth coal, zinc miners.
Indian government plans to sell small stakes in state-run firms including the world’s biggest coal miner and Asia’s largest zinc producer, to ride a stock market boom and boost revenue in the final quarter of the financial year.
The government is looking to sell 5% -10% in Coal India, Hindustan Zinc, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers via the so-called offer-for-sale mechanism. In all, five firms could be chosen, including a listed entity under the railway ministry.
At current prices, sales at the lower end of the range could fetch the government some $2bn. Roadshows have started to gauge investor interest in the stake sales, Bloombergreported.
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