Cisco Buys ThinkSmart, Tempur-Pedic Picks Up Sealy: M&A Weekly Recap

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

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Atlas Resource Partners, L.P. (NYSE:ARP) buys the remaining 50 percent stake in Equal Energy Ltd.’s (NYSE:EQU) 8,500 net undeveloped acres in the core of the Mississippi Lime play located in northwest Oklahoma for $40 million. The site contains approximately 8 Mmcfe per day of Mississippi Lime net output along with salt water disposal infrastructure.

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The United Kingdom firm Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO) is in discussion with India’s United Spirits and also its parent company United Breweries, concerning the purchase of an investment in United Spirits; thus far, no reports have surfaced regarding specifics. A report that came earlier in September said that Diageo could buy a 27 percent stake for 30 billion rupees, or $563 million, and that any deal would continue the company’s strategy of growing in emerging markets.

Shares of Union Drilling, Inc. (NASDAQ:UDRL) move up Tuesday as the company agrees to be acquired by Sidewinder Drilling in an all-cash transaction for $6.50 per share, or a total of $242 million.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ)(NASDAQ:VOD) joins AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH) in paying TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) a large patent payoff. This could set the odds of the latter’s remaining legal adversaries, which include the set-top box majors Motorola Mobility, Cisco Systems, Inc., and Time Warner Cable, winning favorable rulings as slim, says Tony Wible at Janney. Wible calculates that the odds for resolution of these cases are lower because of their higher stakes, but also thinks that TiVo’s IP could make it a merger and acquistion target.

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Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (NYSE:AMP) will acquire the major portion of ING Groep N.V.’s (NYSE:ING) asset management unit in Asia, according to Bloomberg. The parties remain in negotiations on price, and an announcement may emerge in two to three weeks’ time. Observers opine that the division could be worth around €150 million.

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) will replace Chief Financial Officer Tim Morse with Ken Goldman who held the same position at Fortinet. Colin Gillis at BGC thinks that the move could be a harbinger of more aggressive spending and that further acquisitions are in store. The firm should still be sitting on more than $3 billion after it reimbursed shareholders with the majority of the proceeds from the Alibaba divestiture. In the meantime, a founder of an unidentified startup that has been looked into by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) leaked to the New York Times that Yahoo has also been checking it out.

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In a new episode to the drama, Cnooc Limited (NYSE:CEO) is said to be trying to raise $6 billion through a one-year loan to help pay for its proposed $15.1 billion purchase of Nexen, Inc. (NYSE:NXY). The mostly state-owned Chinese oil company has invited some 15 banks to participate in the loan. The Japanese lenders who are usually involved in loan agreements which involve Chinese firms of this sort haven’t been invited this time.

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) acquires ThinkSmart, which develops tech that analyzes Wi-Fi location data on enterprise and service provider networks. Cisco’s wireless networking unit has been a star performer for the firm, with sales rising by 22 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, despite strong rivalry from Aruba Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARUN).

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Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE:DTG) says that the go-shop period for its linkup with Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HTZ) has expired without new bidders. The acquisition will now go forward with a tender offer from Hertz expiring at 12:00 AM on October 5th.

Columbia Banking System, Inc. (NASDAQ:COLB) and West Coast Bancorp (NASDAQ:WCBO) will effect a merger in a transaction valued at approximately $506 million. The unified entity would hold almost $7.2 billion in assets along with more than 150 branches in the Pacific Northwest.

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Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU) might purchase Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.’s (NYSE:HIG) individual life-insurance division as soon as Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The transaction should amount to approximately $1 billion, and would be another step in Hartford’s strategy of shrinking its concentration on property-casualty and group-benefits insurance.

European Aeronautic’s (EADSY.PK) proposed linkup with BAE Systems (BAESY.PK) might yet avoid a full review by European Union regulators, due to a law that can exempt defense-industry deals from antitrust inquiry. However, products with dual civilian-military use will remain subject to review.

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Tempur-Pedic International, Inc. (NYSE:TPX) will acquire its peer mattress retailer Sealy Corporation (NYSE:ZZ) for $2.20 per share, or $229 million. Through the terms, the buyer will either assume or repay the entirety of Sealy’s outstanding convertible and non-convertible debt which takes the total transaction amount to $1.3 billion in a transaction that should close the first half of next year. Analysts are not surprised at the acquisition as Tempur-Pedic wants brand protection and possesses a large amount of output capacity. However, a possible worry is that the deal might get the attention of the Justice Department’s anti-trust division.

Shares of OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ:OCZ) pop following a story in The Register that the company did indeed hold buyout talks with Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) during the summer. A deal was “almost done on the financial side”, but then the talks fell through, due to OCZ Chief Executive Ryan Peterson wanting a seat on Seagate’s board. Peterson’s stepping down last week is thought to have been his role in the matter.

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OCZ Technology Group (NASDAQ:OCZ) shares on Friday are back where they were on Wednesday as a “highly reliable source close to Seagate” informed Eric Savitz late Thursday that Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) will not purchase OCZ after all. Shares of the latter were up more than 10 percent on a report in The Register that a sale was close during the summer.

France has come up with a plan through which it would obtain a 13.5 percent investment in the possible combined entity of BAE Systems (BAESY.PK) and European Aeronautic (EADSY.PK), according to The Financial Times. Through the scheme, Germany would receive the same percentage and the proposal would maintain the political influence which Chief Executive Tom Enders would like to lose. This new deal will likely draw opposition both in the United Kingdom and in the United States.

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Xstrata’s (XSRAF.PK)(XSRAY.PK) directors are looking at a Monday deadline for their decision on Glencore International’s (GLCNF.PK) takeover offer and are working out a deal that could hopefully ensure that their firm keeps control of a combined entity’s board. However, the ordeal of reconciling wide-ranging shareholder views suggests that they might yet again request more time.

In Friday’s news regarding Cnooc Limited’s (NYSE:CEO) now-famous proposed acquisition of Canada’s Nexen (NYSE:NXY), it seems that the former might be required to increase investments in Canada in order to secure that country’s government approval for such a takeover, say sources to Bloomberg. The problem is that increased investments could push up Cnooc’s operations costs for an acquired Nexen while costs for oil sands producers are rising along with a growing North American crude supply and a dearth of pipeline infrastructure.

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) acquires orthopedic implants supplier China Kanghui at a price of $816 million. The deal should increase the buyer’s presence in China. Medtronic’s bid of $30.75 per ADR represents a 22.5 percent bonus to Kanghui’s close on Thursday.

MetroPCS Communications (NYSE:PCS) is said to be “holding conversations with a number of strategic suitors,” according to a source to The Financial Times, while at the same time cautioning observers that the talks should not be considered to be negotiations at this point. However, because chatter regarding possible takeovers of the firm is not uncommon, its shares are down modestly Friday; peer discount carrier Leap Wireless International (NASDAQ:LEAP) has been linked before to such rumors. Further, Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), which is said to have been close to purchasing MetroPCS earlier in 2012, is reportedly “not fully engaged” in conversations this time.

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