Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cadbury Considering Pac-Man Bid

Not willing to accept a possible hostile takeover by Kraft, Cadbury is coming develop a new defensive strategy. Using the Pac-Man defense, where the prey becomes the predator, Cadbury is considering turning the tables and making an offer for one of Kraft's confectionary businesses. This of course will only occur if Cadbury doesn't get a better offer as there is currently speculation that Hershey teamed with Ferrero as well as Nestle may have their eyes on Cadbury.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Asian Countries Questioning Economic Systems

The economies of many Asian nations are highly dependent on exports, which has allowed for increased living standards and reduced poverty, unfortunately this year global trade has contracted at the highest rates in nearly 80 years. This year export earnings decreased 40%, which has erased millions of jobs. Thailand's exportation shipments alone have decreased 17% this year. This has caused many Asian countries to rethink their economies and many are in talks to rebalance growth. No new plans are currently in effect however, they understand the need to change.

Unemployment Will Remain High in US, Europe Until 2011

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has announced that they expect unemployment rates to remain high in both the United States and Europe until 2011. They do believe that most of the countries will either be out or coming out of the economic crisis by that time, but that the unemployment recovery will be slow. According to the OECD, US unemployment rates are expected to dip below 10% in the third quarter of 2010 and most likely stay above 9% until the end of 2011. It is also expected that unemployment in Europe will rise to about 11% in 2010 and will stay at more or less that rate until 2011.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blackstone to Buy Birds Eye

Pinnacle Foods Group, which is controlled by Blackstone Group, announced that it will be buying Birds Eye Foods for $1.3 billion. Pinnacle expects to finance the deal using a combination of new debt and new equity, contributed by Blackstone. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2010.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

American Express to Buy Revolution Money

American Express announced that it intends to buy Revolution Money, a provider of internet based payment services. Revolution Money is a relatively young company but American Express believes that it has a lot of potential. American Express will pay $300 million in order to acquire the company.

Delta Makes Offer for JAL

Delta Airlines has made an offer worth $1billion to aid Japan Airlines. Not to be outdone, American Airlines has promised to top that offer in the next few days. Although Japan Airlines is debt-ridden, Delta and American Airlines both stand to gain much from an acquisition of the JAL due in part to JAL's strong place in the Japanese market and Asia as a whole, which has proven to be a tricky market to infiltrate in the past.

At this time it appears that American Airlines holds an edge over Delta as both American and JAL are members of the OneWorld alliance. Accepting an offer from Delta would mean that JAL would become part of SkyTeam.

Hershey & Ferrero Considering Cadbury

Chocolate makers, Hershey & Ferrero are reportedly in discussion to determine whether or not the two would want to make a joint bid for Cadbury, in a potential deal to rival Kraft's $16.7 billion hostile offer. The two companies have been in talks for the past few weeks and it is uncertain whether or not the two will make a bid.

Devon Energy to Sell Assets

Devon Energy announced its plans to divest all of its offshore and international energy properties so that it would be able to focus on its domestic onshore business. The majority of Devon's business centers on natural gas, which has not bounced back recently, unlike oil. The company believes that the sale of these businesses could generate proceeds anywhere from $4.5 to $7.5 billion after taxes. Devon says that it intends to direct the proceeds to its United States and Canadian portfolios and to pay back debt. There is speculation that the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc) would be interested in this purchase, especially after buying a stake in Statoil's Gulf assets.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama Plans to Engage Asia

Under Bush and other presidencies Asia as a whole was largely ignored by the United States. President Obama however seems reasonably determined to change all that. Obama, who has noted that he once lived in Indonesia while addressing politicians and business leaders alike in Toyko, is determined to improve relations between Asia and the United States. He is planning to meet with all 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations, a first for a U.S. president, which includes Myanmar, a nation currently under U.S. economic sanctions. Obama hopes to be able to promote cooperation rather than competition, in the belief that strengthening ties will allow for a balance of Asian imports and exports to and from the United States, thus helping the U.S. and smaller Asian economys get back on their feet.

Canon to Buy Océ

In the attempt to stand up to the competition of Fuji and Ricoh who have bought printer makers in the past few years, Canon has made an offer to buy Océ, the largest printer maker in Europe. Canon will be paying $1.1 billion for the Dutch company or 8.6 Euros per Océ share. The deal would give Océ better access to international markets and Canon would gain the technology that it needs in order to remain competitive.

Hong Kong Energy Companies to Increase Stakes in Britain

Cheung Kong Infrastructure and Hong Kong Electric announced that they will collectively spend $127 million in order to increase their stakes in Northern Gas Networks of Great Britain. They will be purchasing the stakes from the United Utilities Group.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Motorola Fathoms Splitting 3-ways

In the past Motorola has acknowledged a desire to split into two separate companies, is currently exploring the possibility of dividing into three. By dividing into three different companies Motorola hopes to be able to raise cash and pay down debt. Motorola is said to have hired JPMorgan Chase, Centerview Partners and Goldman Sachs to seek possible buyers for its cable television and radio companies. The businesses up for sale could be worth upwards of $5 billion.

HP to Acquire 3Com

Hewlett-Packard has announced that it will be acquiring networking equipment company 3Com for approximately $2.7 billion or $7.90 in cash per each share of 3Com. The deal is expected to improve HP's business in China as well as its network gear business.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

EC Objects to Sun-Oracle Deal

The European Commission has officially shown its objection to Oracle Corp's proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems. The EC believes that a merger of the two companies would hurt competition in the database market. The Commission has to either approve or reject the deal by January 19th and despite the opposition there is no telling as to whether or not the deal is done just yet.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Opel Not Too Far Gone

G.M's decision not to sell Opel apparently has a lot to do with the fact that Opel's finances are not as far down the hole as previously believed. It was previously forecasted that Opel needed $3.3 billion in order for the company to function until 2011, however, it is now believed that it will only cost $2 billion for Opel to survive until that time. This will obviously still require a lot of government lending from both the United States and Europe, but we'll have to see how willing Germany is to giving aid to Opel, as they are particularly upset with the scrapping of the Opel - Magna deal.

CF Rejects Agrium, Again

CF Industries has announced that it has rejected Agrium's latest and supposedly "final" takeover bid. Agrium's latest offer for CF totaled $4.5 billion. The bid was increased to $92.99 per share in both cash and stock. CF still believes that Agrium is undervaluing their company and therefore unwilling to accept these offers.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Statoil Sells Interest to Chinese Company

Statoil has sold partial interest in some of its American based energy development leases to the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc). Statoil is a major player in the Gulf of Mexico where it has won a number of leases from the U.S. government to develop the region. Cnooc apparently outbid several large companies so as to gain the deal and is now the first ever Chinese company to gain energy rights in the United States. Cnooc still needs to create an American subsidiary and the deal must be approved by the Minerals Management Service before the interest transfer goes through.

Its About Time for Stanley and Black & Decker

For 28 years Stanley Works and Black & Decker have discussed a possible merger. On Monday that nearly 3-decade long courtship came to a close as Stanley agreed to buy Black & Decker for $3.5 billion. The two tool makers will now be worth about $8.4 billion combined. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year.

Germany Not So Happy with G.M.

After 6 months of negotiations and a decision to sell its majority stock to Magna, G.M. has decided that it doesn't want to give Opel up just yet. G.M.'s new board has decided that they want to keep Opel because it is a major part of G.M.'s global development strategy and have stated that they expect to spend $4.4 billion in order to downsize operations. Obviously, the German government is not taking this all too well. Last spring the government had provided $6.6 billion to help finance and bridge loans when G.M. had filed for bankruptcy in the U.S., a move that preserved nearly 25,000 jobs in the company. The Germans are now intent on getting that money bank, after having been so jilted by G.M. as they had worked to get the deal moving.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Germany to Stop Foreign Aid to China

In his first controversial move as German development minister Dirk Niebel has decided that Germany will not longer be giving foreign aid to China and India. Niebel has stated that the purpose of foreign aid was to help battle poverty and he has noted that neither of the economic juggernauts need the aid that they have been receiving. In 2007 Germany gave China 67.5 million Euros and in 2008 gave India 84 million Euros. Although this move will free up monetary aid for other developing nations this move could prove disastrous as it is very possible that China and/or India will take offense to these actions and retaliate against Germany. We will have to wait and see how China and India will react to Niebel's new policy.

Britian Poised to Sell Nationalized Banks

Northern Rock, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank are set to be sold into the private sector by the British government. These three banks were are bailed out and nationalized by Britain during the financial meltdown. Britain has announced that no currently existing British financial institutions will be allowed to buy these banks.