Mergers & Acquisitions: Google and Apple in Another Wireless Patent Battle

Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) announced Thursday that it would buy smaller rival Medco Health Solutions (NYSE:MHS) in a $29.1 billion deal that would make Express the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the country. Express will pay $28.80 in cash and 0.81 of its own shares for each Medco share, a total value of $71.36 a share and a 28% premium of Medco’s last closing price. Once the deal is finalized, Express will own 59% of Medco.

U.S. private equity investor Blackstone (NYSE:BXwill buy German clothier Jack Wolfskin for roughly 700 million euros. Blackstone plans to expand the outdoor clothing brand, which is already gaining popularity in China, into eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Wolfskin, which competes with companies like V.F. North Face (NYSE:VFC) and Adidas (ETR:ADS), saw sales grow 21% percent in 2010, to 304 million euros, and expects to see double-digit growth in 2011 as well.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has acquired Fridge, a developer of group messaging and content sharing platforms for social networking, in a deal that closed yesterday. Google plans to utilize Fridge’s four-person team to develop its new social networking platform, Google+, which has already reportedly gained 18 million users just in its limited “field” tests.

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South Africa’s government is appealing its own regulators’ decision to allow Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) to takeover Massmart (PINK:MMRTY) in a $2.4 billion deal. Three government agencies — Economic Development, Trade and Industry, and Forestry and Fisheries — have opposed the deal that was approved by South Africa’s Competition Tribunal. A hearing will likely be scheduled in October to address objections to the sale.

InterDigital (NASDAQ:IDCC) can now count both Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) among its suitors. The two tech giants are considering bidding for the company and its patent portfolio. InterDigital has designed and developed many digital cellular wireless products and networks, and owns about 1,300 U.S. and 7,500 non-U.S. patents related to wireless communications technologies. The patents would save Google and Apple billions of dollars royalties for Android and iPhone. InterDigital has a market value of $3.1 billion.