Mergers and Acquisitions Recap: Bing Fuels Microsoft, Electronic Arts Chatter

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.

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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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