Mergers & Acquisitions: Southern Union, NYSE Euronext, and Clorox Take Spotlight

Carl Icahn has bid $76.50 a share for Clorox (NYSE:CLX) in a deal valuing the company at $10.2 billion, a 21% premium to the company’s December 20 closing price — the last close before Carl Icahn first began building his stake in the company. Icahn already owns 9.4% of the company’s shares and would like to purchase the rest.

BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) has announced that it will buy Petrohawk Energy (NYSE:HK) in a $12.1 billion all-cash offer. BHP will pay $38.75 a share for Petrohawk, a 65% premium on Thursday’s close price, in a tender offer beginning July 25. BHP is interested in Petrohawk because of its shale natural gas assets in the Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Permian Basin areas in Texas and Louisiana. Shale assets are becoming hot commodities as demand for natural gas and its byproducts continues to rise. Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) and Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) are among many companies buying shale assets in multi-billion dollar deals.

Deutsche Börse (ETR:DB1) shareholders have approved a $9 billion merger with the NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX). The two exchanges plan to create a new international stock market operator. NYSE Euronext shareholders approved the deal last week, so now the merger must await regulatory approval. Because Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext are two of Europe’s biggest derivatives platforms, their merger will be under heavy scrutiny by European antitrust officials.

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Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) has upped its bid for Southern Union (NYSE:SUG) to $44 a share. The $5.5 billion all-cash offer trumps Energy Transfer Equity‘s (NYSE:ETE) $5.1 billion bid. Southern Union has disclosed that it will enter into negotiations with Williams.