M&A Update: Hartford DIVESTS Retirement Division, Capital One SHRUGS OFF ING

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE:HIG) is divesting its Retirement Plans division to Mass Mutual at a price of $400 million while it continues to bring the firm back to its core property-casualty insurance underwriting business; Hartford’s large shareholder John Paulson has demanded this turn in the company’s strategy.

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Critics of Heckmann Corporation’s (NYSE:HEK) $381 million acquisition of Power Fuels are turning into believers, as the deal gives the former a foothold in the Bakken Shale area, where its products will be used for fracking. However, Heckmann continues to resist providing earnings guidance, using the pending shareholder vote on the purchase as reason.

Shares of Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE:COF) are off modestly on Wednesday, seemingly not reacting to the late Tuesday news that ING is poised to divest its near 10 percent investment in the company. Analysts see the upcoming sale as a positive, as it gives ING more flexibility to buy a new round of Capital One stock for its United Kingdom unit.

Coated paper manufacturers Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE:VRS) and NewPage Corp. have ended their talks concerning a possible business merger. Creditors involved in the discussions have also concluded their part in the negotiations.

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