Mergers & Acquisitions Cheat Sheet: Southern Union, eBay, and Joy Global Making Deals

Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) announced today that it was increasing its offer for Southern Union (NYSE:SUG) in an effort to beat out Energy Transfer Equity LP (NYSE:ETE). The all-cash offer values Southern Union at $9.4 billion, or $44 a share. Energy Transfer Equity originally offered Southern Union $33 a share back in mid-June, which was followed a week later by $39 a share by Williams Companies in a $4.9 billion bid, which ETE topped in early July with a $5.1 billion bid. The latest figure values Southern Union’s stock at a 56% premium to its last closing price before ETE’s opening bid.

eBay‘s (NASDAQ:EBAY) $240 million purchase of Zong Inc., a mobile-payment start-up, is putting pressure on other companies to make their own acquisitions in that developing market, including Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), American Express (NYSE:AXP), and Visa (NYSE:V), all of which have begun meeting with similar start-ups for exploratory discussions. Mobile-payments are expected to account for $670 billion dollars spent by 2015, up from $240 billion in 2011.

Both eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE:NWL) have invested in logistics provider Shipwire, which acts as a middle-man for merchants, storing and shipping products and selling order-management software, a service much in demand for retailers expanding their online sales.

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Joy Global (NASDAQ:JOYG) is in talks with International Mining Machinery Holdings (HKG:1683) about buying the Chinese maker of coal-mining equipment, with hopes of making a deal this week. International Mining has a market value of $1.1 billion, based on its most recent close price, on which Joy Global will likely have to pay a 30% premium.

Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) and ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) will likely increase their joint bid for Macarthur Coal (ASX:MCC). The Australian company welcomes their interest, and opened its books for the two companies, ultimately securing an agreement that any offer made in the next 12 months will be now lower than A$15.50. Peabody Energy and Arcelormittal have already bid $5 billion USD for the company.

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