BP Wrangles with Russia, BAE and European Aeronautic Call it Quits: M&A Weekly Recap

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to this week’s M&A headlines:

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Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) purchases the privately-held Rhythmia Medical, which is a developer of mapping and navigation solutions for use in cardiac catheter ablations and other electrophysiology procedures. Included in the transaction is a $90 million upfront payment and as much as $175 million in milestone-based payments.

The wrangling between BP (NYSE:BP) and its Russian billionaire partners in TNK-BP takes on a new twist as AAR, representing the partners, wants to divest its 50 percent interest in the joint venture either to a third party or to sell some of the shares in an initial public offering. For its part, AAR said Monday that such a move would afford it more flexibility should BP divest its 50 percent to Rosneft Oil Co. (RNFTF.PK).

Prospective suitors include Liberty Media Corporation (NASDAQ:LMCA) for the sports and entertainment company AEG, which Anschutz wants to sell in one piece, thus keeping the management in place. The latter anticipates offers of about $10 billion, according to Reuters. If realized, such a figure would top the $6 billion to $8 billion that was mooted in September and given the desire of avoiding a break-up, would complicate the sale.

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The Justice Department has requested that National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV) and Robbins & Myers (NYSE:RBN) send it further information and documents connected to their proposed $2.5 billion merger. This request is in keeping with its oversight duties under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

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Opposition is rising to Tesoro Corporation’s (NYSE:TSO) proposed acquisition of Arco and its Carson refinery for $2.5 billion, according to the Los Angeles Times, while activists believe that the deal would lower competition and elevate prices for motorists. The deal is drawing fire since California’s average gas price has hit a record $4.671 per gallon, and the linkup would leave 51 percent of the state’s refining capacity with TSO and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX).

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AIA Group will buy ING’s (NYSE:ING) Malaysian insurance division for a price between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion, says Reuters. An announcement could be made on Thursday so long as last-minute regulatory approvals don’t interfere.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) divests two commercial buildings in Frankfurt and Berlin to Axa Investment Managers for a total amount of €790 million, or $1B billion, according to Bloomberg. Axa bought the assets on behalf of Norway’s $65 billion sovereign-wealth fund and for its part, RBS is continuing its strategy of selling off non-core assets.

Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR) and Cooper Industries (NYSE:CBE) will sell Apex Tool Group, which is their jointly owned hand and power tools business, to Bain Capital for $1.6 billion. Apex supplies Lufkin measuring tapes, crescent wrenches, and hand tools for the Craftsman brand.

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Toshiba will purchase Shaw Group’s (NYSE:SHAW) 20 percent investment in the nuclear power-plant firm Westinghouse Electric for ¥125 billion, or $1.6 billion, which would increase the Japanese conglomerate’s stake to 87 percent. The buyer has also obtained interest from new potential partners concerning the purchase of a stake in Westinghouse, although Toshiba seeks to keep a majority holding.

It’s possible that by next week the Eurpoean Commission might issue a “statement of objections” to United Parcel Service’s (NYSE:UPS) proposed €5.2 billion buyout of TNT Express, unless the American firm offers concessions that would alleviate antitrust issues, according to The Financial Times.

After all the hoopla and contention, BAE Systems (BAESY.PK) and European Aeronautic (EADSY.PK) have cancelled their proposed $45 billion merger after negotiations became mired in political deadlock. The former said in a statement that, “It has become clear that the interests of the parties’ government stakeholders cannot be adequately reconciled with each other or with the objectives that BAE Systems and EADS established for the merger.” This outcome might not be very surprising, since it relied on France and Germany agreeing to decrease their influence.

At mid-afternoon Thursday, SoftBank Corp. (SFTBF.PK) is in discussions with Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) over a “potential substantial investment” that could lead to a change of control, said the latter firm’s Chief Executive Dan Hesse in an email to employees, who added that the deal “may or may not occur.” In addition, David Faber asserts that SoftBank’s talks with Sprint also cover the acquisition of Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR), whose shares are currently somewhere in orbit while those of Sprint have gained about 10 percent. In the meantime, shares of MetroPCS Communications (NYSE:PCS) are up and down as observers figure that a SoftBank acquisition will make it less likely that Sprint will make a counter-offer to the T-Mobile deal, thus placing the carrier in a worse competitive position. Leap Wireless International (NASDAQ:LEAP) shares have moved up in sympathy.

The Dutch bank ING Groep’s (NYSE:ING) sale of its world assets to meet European Commission requirements continues quickly, as the firm is now divesting its Malaysian life-insurance operations to Hong Kong’s AIA Group in a transaction worth €1.3 billion, allowing ING a net gain of €780 million.

Heckmann Corporation (NYSE:HEK) has finalized its purchase of a majority interest in Appalachian Water Services which will now operate as a part of the former’s fluid management unit. Appalachian owns and operates a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment recycling facility that is designed to treat and recycle the water involved in Marcellus Shale fracking.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE:CTB) might be on the shopping list of Apollo Tyres, says a report in The Economic Times.

The Cnooc (NYSE:CEO) – Nexen (NYSE:NXY) saga continues, as the government of Canada has extended its review of the now-famous proposed merger by 30 days and suggests that this could be followed by yet another extension. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is evaluating the offer under the country’s foreign takeover law, which specifies that such transactions must yield a “net benefit” for Canada if approval is to be granted.

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It is thought that the failure of the BAE-EADS proposed $45 billion merger might put possible deals between tier-two firms such as L-3 Communication Holdings (NYSE:LLL), Rockwell Collins (NYSE:COL), SAIC (NYSE:SAI) and Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) in the spotlight, according to industry executives and bankers to Reuters, as defense budgets are being slashed everywhere. In the United States, a lot will depend upon whether Congress avoids the automatic cuts slated to kick in after the first of January.

Shares of ENGlobal Corporation (NASDAQ:ENG) jump on word that it hired Simmons & Co. to look at possible strategic alternatives, among which include a sale of the firm or some of its assets.

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Kraft Foods Group (NASDAQ:KRFT) wants to divest its Breakstone dairy division which could bring about $400 million, according to Bloomberg, which adds that Grupo Lala might be a buyer. Analysts believe that a sale like that could represent the beginning the company concentrating upon its power brands and also that “ongoing pruning, especially if there is a slowdown and their leverage starts to get too high,” might be anticipated.

Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) Chief Executive Larry Ellison is looking at a purchase of the sports and entertainment division AEG from Anschutz, for which the latter wants $10 billion, says Reuters. If this is correct, Ellison already holds a significant credit facility to help out, having pledged 139 million Oracle shares that are valued at $4.3 billion as “collateral to secure personal indebtedness.”

Telefónica (NYSE:TEF) divests its call-center business Atento to Bain Capital for €1.04 billion, or $1.34 billion, as part of its plan to sell off assets to reduce its huge €57 billion debt. This transaction occurs just a bit more than a week after Telefónica announced its plans to list its German mobile O2 subsidiary.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) will purchase Champion Technologies for $2.2 billion in a transaction consisting of 75 percent cash and 25 percent stock. The firm explains that the acquisition should assist in its finding new oil and gas opportunities in North America and should be accretive next year, adding that synergies from the unified entity are projected to bring $150 million to its total-run rate by 2015.

Shares of Ultimate Software Group (NASDAQ:ULTI) and Saba Software (NASDAQ:SABA) moved up Friday in tandem, following the impressive IPO of their cloud human resources peer, Workday. Both companies get occasional merger or acquisition chatter and the former might also be getting tailwind from ThinkEquity’s starting its coverage with a Buy and a price target of $116.

Friday is seeing contradicting news concerning STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM), which was said earlier in a Bloomberg report to be thinking of breaking itself up. It was rumored that the firm’s analog chip unit could be split from its digital chip division, which is heavily exposed to the soft TV and set-top box markets, and that the mobile baseband chip joint venture ST-Ericsson, which was said this week to be exploring “strategic options,” might be sold. The conjecture also had Samsung (SSNLF.PK), which has been boosting its mobile chip exposure, named as a potential suitor for ST-Ericsson. However, STMicroelectronics quickly released a short statement through which it “denies the existence of initiatives which can compromise the unity of the Company.”

Chatter is circulating that Mark Pincus may be thinking of taking Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) private, as the chief executive re-tweeted a comment connected to an analysis which contends that his company should consider such a move. As it now stands, Pincus controls 50.15 percent of Zynga’s voting rights and is thus positioned to make a going-private bid should he so desire.

Shares of Eloqua (ELOQ) fall back subsequent to ExactTarget’s (ET) purchases of the Web marketing software companies Pardot and iGoDigital. The Pardot acquisition might be especially impacting Eloqua as it leaves ExactTarget in better shape to rival its cloud-based marketing automation software platform.

The bankrupt airline AMR Corporation (AAMRQ.PK) sees a group of its bondholders offer to provide between $1 billion and $2 billion in financing in exchange for large interests in the carrier as a part of its restructuring, according to the Wall Street Journal. The creditors include JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Litespeed and Pentwater, who also do not oppose US Airways Group’s (NYSE:LCC) merger offer.

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