(Updates Cargill, Portugal Telecom, Monsanto, Alrosa; Adds
BlackBerry, NYSE Euronext, Uralkali, Astex and others)
Oct 2 The following bids, mergers, acquisitions
and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Wednesday:
** The possibility of a second offer for BlackBerry Ltd
reversed a slide in its stock price on
Wednesday after the struggling smartphone maker said it expected
to record $400 million in pre-tax charges related to cuts
announced last month.
** Brazil's Grupo Oi SA, facing growing
competition from foreign carriers, agreed to combine with
Portugal Telecom SGPS SA to form a new company with
more than 100 million subscribers and almost $19 billion in
The planned combination is unlikely to face opposition from
Brazil's antitrust regulators, a Brazilian government source
** IntercontinentalExchange Inc and NYSE Euronext
said they moved a step closer to ICE finalizing its
proposed takeover of the Big Board operator after a European
regulatory group said it would not object to the deal.
** Cargill Inc, one of the world's leading cocoa
traders, is in the final stages of a deal to buy Archer Daniels
Midland Co's cocoa business, sources familiar with the
discussions said, creating a price-setting global giant.
** Russia pushed ahead with its drive to raise cash from
state-owned assets, deciding to cut its stake in diamond miner
AK Alrosa OAO in an up to $1.8 billion share sale that
is the gem industry's largest in over a century.
** Monsanto Co, the world's largest seed company,
reported a deeper quarterly loss as seed sales slipped, and
announced the acquisition of a high-tech climate data firm that
it touted as a "transformational" growth engine. Investors
initially appeared unimpressed with the $930 million purchase of
Climate Corp and instead eyed Monsanto's 2014 profit forecast
and a drop in gross profit in its key corn and soybean seed
business in the latest quarter.
** A large stake in Russian potash producer Uralkali OAO
is likely to be sold to one of several local bidders,
according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
** Hedge fund Sarissa Capital, a large shareholder of Astex
Pharmaceuticals Inc, opposed the sale of the
biotechnology company to Japan's Otsuka Holdings Co.
Sarissa, founded by activist investor Alex Denner, a former
associate of billionaire Carl Icahn, said Otsuka's $886 million,
or $8.50 per share, offer undervalued Astex.
** Shareholders in Dutch telecoms group KPN
approved the sale of its German unit E-Plus to Spanish rival
Telefonica SA for 8.55 billion euros ($11.6 billion),
paving the way for it to step up investment and resume dividend
An independent foundation with the power to block America
Movil's proposed 7.2 billion-euro offer for KPN said
it would abstain from a vote to approve the sale of German unit
** Russia's top oil producer Rosneft has signed an
agreement to buy into the Russian assets of Sweden's Lundin
Petroleum AB, increasing its upstream asset base,
Rosneft head Igor Sechin said. Under the deal, Rosneft acquired
51 percent in Petroresurs - a joint venture of trading house
Gunvor and Lundin with 70 and 30 percent respectively - which
owns exploration licence for the offshore Lagansky Block,
located in the north Caspian area.
** Poland may need to delay the sale of its controlling
stake in real estate group PHN to update the valuation
of its assets, threatening its privatisation goal for this year,
two sources familiar with the plans said. Poland's treasury
ministry, which oversees state assets, aimed to sell the
controlling stake to a strategic investor by the end of this
year as part of its plan to raise 5 billion zlotys ($1.6
billion) from privatisations this year.
** Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is
considering buying a majority stake in Finmeccanica SpA's
power engineering unit Ansaldo Energia and could file
an offer shortly, two sources close to the matter told Reuters.
** Serbia will put 179 struggling state-controlled companies
up for sale this month in an effort to eradicate subsidies and
curb the country's budget deficit, Economy Minister Sasa
** Activist investor Daniel Loeb's Third Point LLC has
raised its stake in Sotheby's and called for the
resignation of the auctioneer's chief executive and chairman on
concerns about the company's leadership and strategic
** Five local prospective bidders are conducting due
diligence accounting checks on rescued Spanish bank NCG Banco
and a U.S. investment fund is also looking at the bank ahead of
a possible auction.
** Russia's No. 2 crude oil producer Lukoil wants to leave a
Russian consortium developing a large oil project in Venezuela,
the Kommersant daily reported, citing sources close to the
project. Lukoil is developing heavy oil in Venezuela's Orinoco
basin as part of the Junin-6 consortium, led by Russian state
oil major Rosneft.
** Italian energy company Eni SpA wants to hive off
its 50 percent stake in the German natural gas transmission
networks it co-owns with utility EnBW, a German
newspaper reported. Either EnBW or a consortium of EnBW and its
main public-sector shareholders are likely to buy Eni's stake in
the gas networks holding comprising Gasversorgung
Sueddeutschland and Terranets BW, newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung
said, without specifying its sources. The deal could be worth a
mid triple-digit million euro amount, the paper said.
** GDF Suez SA is in talks with Japan's Mitsui & Co
over the sale of 28 percent of a company that owns most
of its power plants in Australia as well as its distribution
business in the country, business daily Les Echos reported.
Mitsui has offered A$434 million ($407 million) for those
assets, and could top this up with a results-related premium of
up to $47 million, the paper wrote, without naming its sources.
** Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd NV said it would sell
its Belgian banking operations, which analysts estimate to be
worth about 300 million euros ($406 million), so it can build up
its Belgian life insurance and pensions business.
** The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) has bought a 2
percent stake in Europe's biggest online fashion retailer
Zalando, continuing a push into e-commerce investment for the
fund. Berlin-based Zalando said OTPP took the stake as part of a
4 percent capital increase at the group. Danish fashion magnate
Anders Holch Povslen, who bought a 10 percent stake in Zalando
in August, also took part in Wednesday's capital increase to
keep his share at 10 percent.
** BNP Paribas SA has no interest in taking over
German lender Commerzbank AG, the French bank's Chief
Executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said. BNP has been mentioned as a
potential suitor for Germany's second-biggest lender.
** Latin American precious metals firm Hochschild Mining
said it planned to raise up to $96 million to buy the
remaining 40 percent stakes in its Peruvian assets for up to
$280 million. The Lima-based company, which currently holds a 60
percent interest in the Peruvian Pallancata mine and the
Inmaculada project assets, said it would acquire International
Minerals Corp mainly for its 40 percent interest in the
** Greece's Aegean Airlines SA is set to secure
European Union approval for its second bid for Olympic Air after
convincing competition regulators its rival is likely to close
down if the deal is blocked, two sources with knowledge of the
issue said. Aegean has said the proposed 72 million-euro ($96.38
million) acquisition is crucial for the viability of both
** Swiss generic drugmaker Acino Holding AG said it
has accepted a takeover offer from Avista Capital Partners and
Nordic Capital valuing the company at about 398 million Swiss
francs ($439 million). Acino, which makes a patch for the
symptomatic treatment of mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer
dementia, said the sale will give the company funds to expand
its business, drive sales growth and strengthen its competitive
** Dutch real estate holding company Kardan NV,
the top shareholder of Warsaw-listed real estate group Globe
Trade Centre SA, is looking to sell the 27.75 percent
stake to help pay off its debt pile, GTC and Kardan said. Kardan
said it expected the sale to take place before the end of the
year, although it warned the success would depend on the terms
of the binding offers.
** The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, in which three private equity
firms recently bought stakes, may consider an initial public
offering or a strategic sale over the next few years as part of
an exit strategy for investors, its chief executive said. The
funding would allow the company to accelerate its growth plans
in southern California and north Asia as it seeks to double its
revenue from directly-owned and franchised-run stores in five
years to a total of $1 billion, Mel Elias, also the president of
the Los Angeles-based firm, told Reuters.
** Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, controlled by Asia's
richest man, Li Ka-shing, is planning to float its healthcare
and beauty retail business Watsons within the next 12 to 18
months, a Hong Kong newspaper reported. The Hong Kong Economic
Times, quoting market sources, said the initial public offering
could raise between $8 million and $10 billion.
** Tesco Plc will inject retail assets and HK$4.325
billion ($558 million) in cash into a hypermarket joint venture
with China Resources Enterprise Ltd, the Chinese
state-backed firm said. China Resources will hold 80 percent of
the venture, while Tesco will take 20 percent, according to a
filing to the Hong Kong bourse.
** La Quinta Inns & Suites has attracted interest from a
number of potential suitors that could value the Blackstone
Group LP-owned budget hotel chain at as much as $4.5
billion, three sources with knowledge of the matter said this
week. Firms that are looking at La Quinta include hospitality
holding companies Choice Hotels International Inc and
Hospitality Properties Trust, as well as private equity
firm Apollo Global Management LLC, the sources said.
** Canadian fertilizer company Agrium Inc said on
Tuesday that it has completed its purchase of Viterra Inc's
Canadian farm retail stores. Agrium, already the biggest U.S.
retail seller of fertilizer, chemicals and seed, will get 210
stores across Western Canada from Glencore Xstrata,
which acquired Viterra in 2012.
($1 = 0.74 euros)
($1 = 1.06 Australian dollars)
($1 = 7.75 Hong Kong dollars)
($1 = 0.9063 Swiss francs)
(Compiled by Aby Jose Koilparambil)