TripAdvisor Buys Wanderfly, Microsoft Picks Up PhoneFactor: M&A Weekly Recap

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

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TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP) acquires Wanderfly, which is a “travel inspiration site” that permits users to share travel recommendations on its site and through Facebook, for an unreported sum. The buyer is expected to integrate Wanderfly into its core travel reviews site.

The cash consideration option involved in Energy Transfer Partner’s (NYSE:ETP) pending purchase of Sunoco (NYSE:SUN) was oversubscribed, according to preliminary results of the elections made by shareholders of the latter, regarding the form of merger consideration to be received as holders of almost 74 percent of the stock selected that choice.

The German government is apparently uninterested in an investment in the new company that would be formed subsequent to the potential merger of European Aeronautic (EADSY.PK) and BAE Systems (BAESY.PK). Germany’s interest in EADS is held through its proxies: Daimler with 9 percent, and a bank consortium with 4.5 percent. The government would prefer to have German board members, along with guarantees of jobs, research and development and some industrial sites.

Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) purchase of the face-recognition tech developer Viewdle may be close at hand, says a source to CNET. The price is said to be “toward the high end” of a $30 million to $50 million range. The acquisition of Viewdle would afford Google a way to provide a face-recognition solution for its Android applications, Picasa, Google+ and anywhere else it might prove useful.

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Thyssen Krupp (TYEKF.PK) is thinking about divesting its two-year old $5 billion high-tech steel plant in Alabama and also its $6.8 billion facility in Brazil following a failed strategy of transporting slabs from the Brazilian facility for processing into high-grade sheets in the Alabama factory. Companies that may officially or unofficially be interested in the Alabama asset include United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X), Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE), and ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT).

November 8th is the latest date of importance in the ongoing merger between Glencore International (GLCNF.PK) and Xstrata (XSRAF.PK)(XSRAY.PK) as the European Commission says it will decide on approval by then. In the meantime, Glencore can offer concessions to avoid an in-depth investigation which could consume up to 105 working days. In such an inquiry, the Commission could examine the potential market power of the new entity as it becomes the largest thermal coal exporter in the world along with being the top producer of zinc and ferrochrome, not to mention the third-largest copper producer.

Premier Alison Redford of Alberta is said to have asked Canada’s federal government to insist on more stringent conditions being placed upon the management makeup and workforce levels in Cnooc Limited’s (NYSE:CEO) proposed acquisition of Nexen (NYSE:NXY), prior to its approval.

The books of Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY) are currently hot items for perusal as the company’s founder Richard Schulze, Apollo Global Management (NASDAQ:APO), and a minimum of four private equity firms are poring over them prior to a possible buyout bid of up to $10.9 billion (which includes debt), according to Reuters. Schulze intends to unite the companies in a consortium and submit an offer, but they are said to be skeptical.

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The board of MetroPCS Communications (NYSE:PCS) okays a merger transaction with Deutsche Telekom’s (DTEGY.PK) T-Mobile USA division, says CNBC. Meanwhile, a few details emerge from a conference call such as the combined entity will keep the T-Mobile name, between $6 billion and $7 billion in cost synergies are anticipated, Deutsche Telekom will have the power to nominate board members, and T-Mobile USA Chief Executive John Legere will be the head of the company.

The Carlyle Group (NYSE:CG) is moving into commodities as it acquires 55 percent of the hedge fund manager Vermillion while the company expands beyond private equity. Vermillion manages approximately $2.2 billion and invests in an assortment of commodities that varies from agricultural staples and soft commodities such as coffee and cocoa, to metals and energy.

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Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) is currently in discussions with at least three prospective buyers of between $4 billion and $6 billion worth of interests in its oil blocks in the Gulf of Mexico. The Brazilian media says that Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A), Exxon Mobile Corporation (NYSE:XOM), and BP (NYSE:BP) are at the top of the list of companies likely to be the most interested. The sales form a portion of Petrobras’ strategy of divesting $14.5 billion worth of non-core assets.

Unilever (NYSE:UL) is thinking of selling its Skippy peanut butter brand for a price between $300 million and $400 million, say sources. Analyst Bryan Gildenberg thinks the move makes sense because it meets the company strategy of positioning itself more as a personal care company than a food business.

BioSante Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BPAX) will merge with ANI Pharmaceuticals in an all-stock transaction with the former as the surviving entity. Upon conclusion, BioSante shareholders will keep approximately 47 percent.

The Israeli medical device firm Given Imaging (NASDAQ:GIVN) purchases the SmartPill GI Monitoring System from The SmartPill Corporation, which is based in the United States, for a price of $6 million. The SmartPill is an ingestible capsule which utilizes sensor tech to measure pH, pressure and temperature in the gastrointestinal tract and is also used to evaluate motility disorders such as gastroparesis and constipation.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has bought PhoneFactor, which supplies enterprise authentication services. The buyer intends to join PhoneFactor’s solutions which act as an alternative to hardware-based security tokens with its business applications and cloud services.

Shares of MetroPCS Communications (NYSE:PCS) spiked momentarily after a Bloomberg report claimed that Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is “in the early stages of evaluating a counter offer” for the former and might make a decision as to whether to beat T-Mobile’s offer by next week. Meanwhile, Leap Wireless International (NASDAQ:LEAP) continues Wednesday’s decline after a similar spike.

Shares of Escalon Medical Corp. (NASDAQ:ESMC) are up way more than 100 percent in mid-afternoon trading following word that it divested its clinical diagnostics unit to ERBA Diagnostics (ERB) for $6.5 Million. The buyer says that the sale should have a material effect on future earnings.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) leads the pack of hopefuls who want part or all of the Brazilian insurer and hospital operator Amil Participaçőes, which currently has a market cap of 9.01 billion reais, or $4.47 billion, according to Bloomberg. Such a deal would allow UnitedHealth access to a growing private-insurance market and bring growth opportunities to its Optum unit which supplies tech and consulting to health systems.

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A new episode to the ongoing Cnooc Limited (NYSE:CEO) and Nexen (NYSE:NXY) drama: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday that the $15.1 billion offer for Nexen “raises a range of difficult policy questions,” but added that “Canada is a significant investor in other parts of the world.” Harper’s remarks follow the opposition New Democratic Party’s recent urging of the government to stop the deal.

The General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) is receiving interest from CIMB, which is based in Kuala Lumpur, and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation for its $1.6 billion, 25 percent investment in Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya, according to Bloomberg. This speculation emerges following GE’s 7.6 percent divestiture of Ayudhya to institutional investors last month; the company reports that it is reviewing its “strategic” options for its remaining shares.

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National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) and Eurobank Ergasias are said to be in discussion in regards to a possible merger that, if successful, could form that country’s largest lending institution. The talks emerge while Greece’s struggling lenders are under enormous pressure to survive by supporting one another.

It appears that France, Germany and the United Kingdom are unable to come to terms on what their interests will be in a new entity should the ongoing merger between European Aeronautic (EADSY.PK) and BAE Systems (BAESY.PK) somehow work out. Spiegel Online reports that the talks have collapsed because of the problem, but EADS declares that its merger with BAE is still viable and that it has not been ordered to halt the procedure by any of the governments involved. The firm added that it will continue to work towards the October 10th deadline handed down by the United Kingdom.

Kraft Foods Europe, which now forms a part of Mondelez International (NASDAQ:MDLZ), will acquire the Vitasnella snack unit in Italy from Danone (DANOY.PK) for an unreported amount. At the same time, Danone will retain Vitasnella’s yogurt and businesses which permits Kraft to concentrate on a quickly growing snack sector that is surpassing other consumer segments.

There is a contradiction in today’s news from Italy regarding a possible purchase of General Motors Company’s (NYSE:GM) Opel business by Fiat (FIATY.PK). The newspaper Il Sole 24 reported that Fiat wants to renew talks between the two parties over such a deal, but later GM company executive Steve Girsky said once again that Opel is not for sale, declaring that, “Opel is a fully integrated part of GM’s global footprint and vital for GM’s future success in Europe.” Fiat has once before attempted to acquire Opel in 2009, but the newspaper now says that it wants it for free.

The board of Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) scheduled a noon phone meeting to discuss the possibility of renewing its pursuit of Metro PCS Communications (NYSE:PCS), according to sources. The same board turned down what appeared to be fait accompli for the firm back in February, at which time Sprint shares were trading at $2, but since the rally to $5 along with the progress made on the network upgrade and the successful iPhone investment, directors might now have a different scenario to evaluate.

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