M&A Weekly Recap: Nestle Wins Baby Food War, Halcon Resources Buys GeoResources


And the winner in the baby food war is… Nestle, who (NSRGY.PK) gets Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) baby food business for $11.85 billion in cash. The acquisition will expand Nestle’s capacity to market infant formula in emerging markets, plus the potential to help it get back market share in China.

Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) snaps up Cable & Wireless Worldwide for £1.04 billion, or $1.7 billion, in cash. The deal will enable the former to offload soaring Internet traffic in the United Kingdom, to a larger capacity fixed network.

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The Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) vs. Roche (RHHBY.PK) drama comes to an end, as the latter drops it hostile takeover bid for the former, and is reported to be in conversations with the research centers of three large universities regaring the purchase of their gene sequencing technologies.

AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) acquires Ardea Biosciences (NASDAQ:RDEA), and is toying with the idea of purchasing other late-stage assets outside its research and development focus on cancer, diabetes and gastrointestinal ailments. Such moves would be to forestall and/or fight back against potential generic rivals.

Shares of the polymer products developer Landec (NASDAQ:LNDC) jump following word that it is purchasing GreenLine Foods for $63 million in cash with no assumed debt. A revenue guidance was issued to the effect.

ABB (NYSE:ABB) puts the kabosh on rumors that it might make an offer for Rockwell (NYSE:ROK). However, the company’s CEO confirmed that it is still thinking about filling restructuring gaps with (other) acquisitions.

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Cove Energy’s (CNVGF.PK) board asks its shareholders to okay a raised bid from Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) subsidiary Shell Exploration and Production, of 220 pence per share. The new offer values Cove at £1.12 billion, or $1.8B billion; the company is run by ex-Shell veteran Michael Blaha. Alexis Flynn opines that Shell rivals are not likely to beat the 220p offer, although Cove shares topped that price in London trading on Tuesday.

United Tech (NYSE:UTX) CFO Greg Hayes says that his company is in the final stages of negotiations regarding the sale of its Rocketdyne space unit. A contract to that effect is expected by the end of the second quarter, Hayes reports, and he comments that the European Union’s evaluation of UTX’ purchase of Goodrich is moving forward as expected. In addition, he reports that his company has received initial offers for industrial units at its Hamilton operations.

Shares of Fusion-io (NYSE:FIO) benefit from William Blair’s confirmation that it could be on the shopping list of some IT big name. The firm has of late been the focus of much merger and acquisition chatter.

Digital Generation (NASDAQ:DGIT) acquires privately-held Peer39, and its shares jump as a result. The firm plans to integrate Peer39 with another of its purchases, Israeli-based MediaMind.

Payless Shoe parent Collective Brands (NYSE:PSS) is mulling final bids from South Korea’s E-Land and Wolverine World Wide (NYSE:WWW), according to a Bloomberg report. A decision is due in the near term, and it’s said that at least one offer was approximately $2 billion.

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Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) will purchase 95.6 percent of privately-held Turkish company Mustafa Nevzat Pharmaceuticals in a transaction that prices the company at $700 million. This move is aimed at helping the buyer enlarge its operations in the quickly growing Turkish market and surrounding areas.

In a transaction that represents a total consideration of approximately $37.97 a share, Halcon Resources (NYSE:HK) buys GeoResources (NASDAQ:GEOI) at $20 per share in cash and a stock swap of 1.932 shares of HK common stock for each GEOI share held.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) is still shopping for analytics firms, as its latest acquisition conquest is said to be Vivisimo, which develops software that enables enterprises to discover and analyze data from disparate sources. First quarter analytics revenue for IBM realized a 14 percent year-to-year rise, and it expects that Vivisimo’s tech will complement its big data platform. Meanwhile on Tuesday, Vivisimo’s VMware bought big data analytics startup Cetas.

Shares of Shutterfly (NASDAQ:SFLY) pop following the announcement that its bid of $23.8 million for the bankrupt Eastman Kodak’s (EKDKQ.PK) Kodak Gallery has no competitor. The prospective buyer expects the Gallery (75 million users) to both reinforce its position in the online printing market, and in the sole photo gallery space, perhaps to combat growing worries of a photo printing pullback.

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Shares of Watson Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:WPI) move up on Thursday, following the firm’s agreement to purchase its privately held Swiss rival Actavis. The €4.25 billion (at a minimum) purchase elevates Watson in generic drug makers’ worldwide rankings to number 3, and Citi boosts share to Buy in response.

Chatter regarding a possible acquisition of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) by Asian online gaming major Nexon, doesn’t impress Wedbush’s Michael Pachter, who points out that EA’s current market cap of $5.3 billion would be a big pill for Nexon to swallow, with its cap of $8 billion. Other factors against such a move include the likelihood that defections by EA workers would be too much, along with the fact that Nexon’s CEO would lose control, as he owns more that 50 percent of the current shares. And, Nexon has no expertise in many of EA’s core areas. Shares of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and Glu Mobile Inc. (NASDAQ:GLUU) are moving up on the rumor, nontheless.

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Online Services unit, which lost $479 million in the fiscal third quarter, is dominated by Bing. Weak growth in advertising revenues and gains in shares were insufficient to offset the deficit, and recently the New York Times said that company executives “sent out feelers” to Facebook (FB) last year to see if they’d be interested in buying the search engine. However, Mark Zuckerberg rejected the offer, remarking that Facebook ‘was preoccupied with other matters’. Thus, the question of whether MSFT wants to divest Bing is still up in the ether.

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