Friday, December 22, 2006

Citigroup considers making possible acquisitions in Italy in credit card and personal loan sector, CEO says

Citigroup, the US bank, intends to consider making possible acquistions in Italy, reported Panorama. Charles Prince, Citigroup's chief executive, said in an interview that the company is interested in making acquistions in Italy and that sectors such as credit cards and personal loans can still give good results.
Citigroup reached profits of EUR 24.6bn in 2005.

Alcan could receive takeover bid from foreign entity - report

Alcan, the listed Canadian aluminum giant, could eventually be subject to a takeout offer, according to a professor cited in the Montreal Gazette.
In the report, Prof. Joseph D’Cruz from the University of Toronto, said that Alcan, whose shares do not adequately reflect the company's value, could become a target for a foreign buyer if Canada's currency continues to slip in value.
Alcan's market cap is USD 17.71bn, according to Yahoo Finance.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Level 3 Communications may be acquisition candidate; Google and Qwest may bid - report

Level 3 Communications, the US listed fibre optic company, may be an acquisition candidate, the Wall Street Journal reported. The report said that speculation that Level 3 might be acquired has helped to double its share price over the last year. The report said that Google, the listed internet company, could be a possible bidder. Google refused to comment, the report continued. Qwest, the listed US telecoms operator, is also believed to be looking for targets, with Level 3 believed to be figuring among them. Qwest also refused to comment, the report added. However, the report noted that some market operators believe that take-over speculation is over-hyped. Level 3 has a market cap of USD 6.766bn.

Juniper Networks still attractive takeover target despite charge caused by stock option granting - report

Juniper Networks, the California-listed networking company, shouldn’t see a stock option granting scandal hurt its attractiveness as a target, reported the San Jose Mercury News.
The report, citing analysts, said that even though Juniper was taking a charge of about USD 900m due to how the company issued stock options to chief executive officer Scott Kriens, analysts said it was still an attractive takeover target given the option grants happened in 1999.
The report was part of a broader story looking at options granting at Juniper.

Aeroplan Income Fund likely to make an acquisition in 2007 - report

Aeroplan Income Fund, the listed Canadian loyalty marketing company, is poised to acquire a company next year, said an analyst in the Globe and Mail.
Nick Morton, an RBC Dominion Securities analyst, was cited in the 21 December report as saying that in 2007, Aeroplan could take a run at the frequent-flier plans offered by either Varig in Brazil or Qantas Airlines in Australia.
Aeroplan’s Q3 earnings came in at CAD 34.3m (USD 30.3m), up 77%.

Nike may be looking at targets worth up to USD 500m - research report

Nike, the listed athletic apparel and shoe manufacturer in Oregon, may use acquisitions worth up to USD 500m to fuel growth, Citigroup reported.
Citigroup made the remarks in a 20 December research report prepared by Kate McShane. The report ranked Nike stock as "buy" and "medium risk."
The report mentioned the possibility of acquisitions as part of its analysis of the company's prospects and growth options in 2007.
The report said that Nike has multiple growth options over the long term that are "outside" the Nike brand. These include Chinese and other international business options, women's business, and other categories. Citigroup estimates the company will have USD 1.4bn available at the close of 2007 on its balance sheet.
Based on remarks by Nike management, Citigroup said "it sounds" like the company is now "actively looking" at potential targets. Management indicated that the company would view as targets brands that can fill in its portfolio or brands with products that would not be brandable as Nike products. The report said Citigroup believes Nike would seek acquisition targets that are less than USD 500m in value in order to preserve some remaining funding for other growth methods.
The report said Nike has a USD 26.9bn market cap.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron could pursue North American buys - report

Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, the three listed oil companies, could look to pursue buys, reported the Wall Street Journal. The report, citing analysts, stated all three companies are in a good financial spot to look for buys, primarily in North America. According to the report, North America oil companies are good targets because North America is seen as a good place to engage in energy investments. According to the report, one target is Hess of New York, but analysts’ notes its market capitalization of USD 13.9bn may make it too small of a target. Other targets include Devon Energy of Oklahoma City, EnCana, Suncor Energy and Nexen of Canada and XTO Energy of Texas. ConocoPhillips of Texas is seen as a target and a buyer. Exxon is based in Texas, while Royal Dutch Shell is based in Netherland and Chevron is based in California. Chevron, with a market capitalization of USD 162bn is the smallest of the three, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Juniper Networks rumoured target or could engage in buys - analyst report

uniper Networks, the California listed networking equipment company, is seeing talk it could be an acquisition target amid Ericsson's acquisition of Redback Networks, according to an analyst report.
According to a research report issued 20 December by BWS Financial analyst Hamed Khorsand, there is speculation that Juniper could be bought out or engage in a merger. According to the report, talk of Juniper being acquired is unsubstantiated. The report noted Juniper could engage in more acquisitions to remain competitive. The call was part of a broader research report looking at the Ericsson and Redback deal.
Juniper has a market capitalization of USD 11bn.

oneywell has a lot of potential acquisition targets mainly outside US - analyst report

Honeywell, the listed New Jersey conglomerate that has said it will look for buys, has a lot of potential targets, according to an analyst report.
According to a research report issued 20 December by Caris & Company analyst May Anne Sudol, Honeywell has indicated it has a lot of potential acquisition targets in the pipeline with many outside the US. According to the report, Honeywell will likely look to buy companies that have a technology it would want and will likely be sensitive to price.
The call was a part of a broader research report in which Caris raised its investment rating on Honeywell to buy from above average. Honeywell has a market capitalization of USD 36.2bn.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

UAL and Continental in preliminary merger talks - reports

UAL Corp, owner of Ilinois-based United Airlines, is in talks with Continental Airlines on a potential merger, according to various news wire reports.
A Wall Street Journal online report said both companies have held talks for a few months but have sped up the process after the hostile bid made by US Airways Group for Delta Air Line last month.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal said that AirTran Holdings was also on the edge of launching a bid for Midwest Air Group, people familiar with the matter said. The move hints at a growing pressure for consolidation, which have stretched out to smaller carriers.
A Reuters report, citing the New York Times, said Glenn Tilton, chief executive of UAL, and Continental chief Larry Kellner, have held a meeting to talk about a potential deal. However, the talks were said to be preliminary with no expectation of an imminent deal.
An Agence France Press report, citing The Times, said both United Airlines and Continental refused to comment. United's parent UAL Corp and Continental Airlines could not be reached for comments.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Anadarko outlines plans to sell additional assets - reports

Anadarko Petroleum, a listed, Texas-based oil and gas exploration and production company, said Tuesday it plans to sell at least USD 5bn in additional assets, according to reports.
Anadarko plans to sell its Venezuelan assets, a quarter of its interest in the K2 project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, its production assets in Qatar, drilling projects in the Rockies and assets in north Louisiana and west Texas, the reports said.
Anadarko CFO, Al Walker, said on Tuesday at an investor conference that the company will aim to reduce debt down to USD 12bn by the end of 2007. This year the company spent USD 22.5bn to pay for the acquisitions of Kerr-McGee and Western Gas.
Walker said deals could be announced by the end of the month, and the asset sales could generate from USD 5bn to USD 9bn, after taxes, according to the reports.

WhitePages is an attractive target; may expand into social networking space, CEO says, a Washington-based directory business, may be an attractive target for a company that wants to enter the “people search” space, CEO Max Bardon said. is the largest online people search company, powering directories of Verizon’s SuperPages and has been approached by various Internet, media and technology companies. “If some day something came along we are not closed to it,” Bardon said. The company does not have a definitive time frame for an exit through sale or IPO," he added. would be an attractive target because it owns strong brand names such as and, in addition to Founded in 2000, the company has a strong localized element with about 22 million unique users a month and has been growing 50% to 100% over the past four years. “For both financial and synergistic reasons we could be attractive to larger companies,” Bardon said.
These potential suitors include traditional media companies, providers of yellow pages services and internet companies such as InterActiveCorp or United Online. “As we get larger this set of potential buyers gets smaller,” he said.
WhitePages is profitable, and received an investment two years ago of about USD 40m from outside equity investors. The company expects to generate revenues between USD 50m and USD 55m in 2006. acquired its latest brand name, in 2006, and if it made more buys would probably look to companies to aid plans to expand its search capabilities to include the social and professional networking spaces, Bardon said. “When I think about places we would consider it would be more tangential spaces,” he said.
WhitePages currently partners with ZoomInfo and could potentially partner with a business such as LinkedIn, but it is still too early to know whether acquiring such companies would make sense. “The jury is still out,” Bardon said.

Coca-Cola plans to move quickly when it finds acquisition targets

Coca-Cola, the Georgia listed beverage company, plans to move quickly when it finds acquisition targets, reported the Wall Street Journal. The report, citing Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola’s president and chief operating officer, said that the company will move fast when it discovers an acquisition target. According to the report, Kent said that the company is not looking to buy the stake in Coca-Cola Enterprise, the Atlanta bottler, that it does not own. The report was part of a broad story looking at plans for Coca-Cola under Kent. Coca-Cola has a market capitalization of USD 9.7bn.

Citigroup not likely to change strategy; could push for more buys - report

Citigroup, the New York listed financial firm that’s seen calls to break up the company, isn’t likely to change strategy, reported the New York Times. The report, citing analysts, reported that the appointment of Robert Druskin as head of the company’s corporate and investment bank could mean the company has no plans to change its strategy or oust it CFO Sallie Krawcheck. According to the report, on Thursday at the company’s investor meeting, Citigroup Chief Executive Charles Prince may attempt to convince shareholders that the current strategy is working and that the company needs to increase the amount of acquisitions it engages in. Citigroup has a market capitalization of USD 260bn.

Symantec's stock rises on talk Hewlett-Packard wants to buy it - report

Symantec, the California listed security software company, saw its stock climb on talk Hewlett-Packard may want to buy it, reported the San Jose Mercury News. The report, citing an analyst, reported talk that California-based Hewlett-Packard would want to buy Symantec emerges from time to time.
Symantec has a market capitalization of USD 19bn.

Bank of Canada renews call for bank mergers in Canada - report

David Dodge, governor of the Bank of Canada, is renewing calls for bank mergers in Canada, according to the 12 December National Post.
According to Dodge, Canadian financial services institutions, absent a Government of Canada decision to allow bank mergers in the country, will increasingly fall behind their international rivals. In the report, it was noted that analysts expect plenty of M&A activity next year in the banking sector, which could further put Canadian banks at a disadvantage. An unidentified executive at a Canadian bank said in the report that the only reason the political will cannot be mustered up to push the agenda is that the bank mergers issue is unpopular among the public.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Sony could separate electronics and entertainment divisions and look at divestitures, executive says

Sony could separate its core electronics and entertainment businesses into two separate public companies, Sony CFO Rob Wiesenthal said.
The company will also look at divestitures, according to Wiesenthal. “Our goal is to revitalize the core electronics business,” Wiesenthal said. If the company fails to increase the value of that division, Sony will consider other options, such as making the electronics division a separate public company, Wiesenthal said.
Wiesenthal also said that the company will look at divesting sections that were considered “sacred” before. Divesting those divisions would be "difficult", but Sony would still consider divesting them, Wiesenthal said.
Wiesenthal said that Sony had divested sections of its financial services business and retail business. “There is more to come,” he said.

Yahoo may be compelled to consider M&A if management cannot turn things around - research report

Yahoo could face an M&A scenario if its management is unable to turn things around in a way that boosts the company's stock price, noted a research report.
UBS analysts Benjamin A. Schachter and Daniel Silver said in a 7 December UBS Investment Research report that Yahoo, which recently announced a restructuring effort, will either need to see its management team fix up what ails the listed California-based Internet company and boost its share value, or change the management team and/or engage in some sort of M&A deal to increase shareholder value. A report carried on this news service earlier today suggested that Microsoft, the listed Washington-based software giant, could be interested in buying Yahoo, which has a market cap of USD 36.22bn.

Sirius and XM not likely to merge; FCC rule would prevent it - report

Sirius and XM, the two listed satellite companies, are not likely to merge despite speculation that the two could hook up, reported the Wall Street Journal. The unsourced report, part of a broad story looking at declining demand for satellite radios, said that a merger is not likely because of a Federal Communications Commission ruling that prevents a satellite company from buying a competitor. According to the report, the FCC is not likely to change that rule. A previous report in the New York Daily News had said New York based Sirius and Washington DC based XM could merge in the next year-and-a-half, creating a 7bn company.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Playboy could be takeover target for PE firm or publisher - report

Playboy, the listed Chicago media company, could be a takeover target for a PE firm or publisher, reported the Wall Street Journal. The unsourced report in the Wall Street Journal, reported that Playboy could be a target for a PE firm or publisher given the company has been improving and has a cheap stock price.
Playboy has a market capitalization of USD 383.5m.

Puma's stock rises on talk Nike wants to buy - report

Puma, the German sneaker maker, saw its stock rise on renewed speculation Nike may want to buy it, reported the Boston Herald. The report, citing traders, reported rumors of a takeout by Nike were spreading in Europe and Oregon where Nike is based.
According to the report, the rumors were prompted by Nike arranging a USD 1bn loan. The report noted a Nike spokesperson said the loan will be used for general corporate purposes.

Yahoo: Microsoft could be interested in buying company, analyst says - report

Microsoft could be interested in buying Yahoo, the listed California-based Internet firm that recently announced a reorganization, noted the Globe and Mail.
Rob Sanderson, an American Technology Research analyst, was cited in the report saying that Yahoo's decision to revitalize its management team will not eliminate takeover rumors, particularly when a company such as Microsoft, a Washington-based software heavyweight, could bulk up its online advertising operations by acquiring Yahoo. Yahoo's market cap is USD 36.54bn.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Thomson looking for more acquisitions, CEO says

Thomson, the listed Canadian data provider based in Connecticut, is looking for takeover targets in the electronic data space, reported the Globe and Mail.
Richard Harrington, CEO of the company, was cited in the report as saying that Thomson intends to fund future acquisitions by using proceeds that will come via the divesting of its educational publishing unit.
Thomson's market cap is USD 27.57bn, according to Yahoo Finance.

Yum! Brands not planning a purchase of Wendy's chain - report

Yum! Brands does not plan to purchase Wendy's, according to a report in the Akron Beacon Journal, which cited David Novak, YUM chief executive. Yum! owns Pizza Hut, KFC, A&W and Long John Silver's, and has been speculated as a potential bidder for the Ohio-based Wendy's chain.
Novak questioned a purchase of Wendy's because the chain lacks locations that are outside of North America, the article reported.
Wendy's has a USD 3.97bn market cap.

Talisman the subject of heightened takeover speculation - report

Talisman Energy, the listed Canadian oil and gas company, has found itself the subject of heightened takeover rumors, according to the National Post.
The report cited Barry Nelson, who works with Talisman, as saying that his company will not address recently published reports suggesting that Total SA, the listed French energy giant, is interested in launching a takeover attempt for Talisman. In the report, it was noted that Talisman's stock price climbed yesterday on speculation that an outright takeover bid or breakup of the entity was possibly imminent.
Chris Theal, an analyst with Tristone Capital, said in the report that Talisman could possibly be broken up into three portions, which could bump up the company's share value to between CAD 23 and CAD 25. Talisman's market cap is USD 19.06bn, according to Yahoo Finance.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Alcan could receive takeover bid in months ahead - report

Alcan, the listed Canadian aluminum player, could be on the receiving end of a takeover bid in the months ahead, noted Report on Business magazine.
The report, which focused primarily on Alcan's troubled past with the residents and government of Kitimat, British Columbia, cited unidentified analysts' musings about a likely takeover bid for Alcan sooner rather than later. Rio Tinto in the UK and BHP Billiton in Australia have been mentioned in previous reports as possible suitors.
Alcan's market cap is USD 18.77bn, according to Yahoo Finance.

Boyd Gaming sees stock climb on speculation it could be next takeover target - report

Boyd Gaming, the listed Nevada casino company, saw its stock climb Monday on speculation it could be the next takeover target, reported the Wall Street Journal. The report, citing analysts, reported shares of Boyd Gaming rose 11% and its options traded briskly on speculation that Boyd could be the next to be taken out.
The speculation was prompted by an offer for Station Casinos. The report was part of the Wall Street Journal's options column.
Boyd has a market capitalization of USD 3.7bn.

CBS would sell Simon & Schuster at the right price, CFO says; McGraw Hill could be interested, source says

CBS would sell its consumer publishing division if it was offered the right price, CFO Fred Reynolds said in a one-on-one interview with this news service. CBS is not actively looking to sell that division, Reynolds added.
In a Q&A session at the Credit Suisse media and telecom conference, Reynolds was asked if he would sell Simon & Shuster at USD 1.5bn. Reynolds responded that that would be a very good offer. "If somebody values one of our businesses more than we do, we will take a look at their offer," Reynolds said.
A source familiar with the strategy of CBS said that he believed CBS was not shopping its Simon & Shuster division, but had no reason to keep it. The source said Simon & Shuster is estimated to have just under USD 100m in cash flow. An offer of 10x EBITDA for that division is very feasible based on other deals in that industry, the source said.
McGraw-Hill, the New York based publishing company could be interested in acquiring Simon & Shuster, the source said.

ValueClick acquires for USD 13.3m in cash

ValueClick, the listed California-based online marketing group, today announced that it has acquired UK-based, privately held for USD 13.3m in cash. owns and operates 27 websites that provide comparison shopping, search and vertical market content to European online consumers. will be integrated into ValueClick Europe to complement ValueClick Europe’s existing online marketing services. websites attract more than two million unique visitors per month. generates revenue primarily through online advertising priced on a cost-per-click basis. is ValueClick’s second European acquisition of online shopping destination sites, following the 2004 acquisition of comparison shopping site
“ is a great fit for ValueClick Europe,” said Carl White, chief executive officer of ValueClick Europe. “This acquisition expands our online shopping destination site presence in the marketplace, and is another significant step in our European expansion. will complement our other businesses, including PriceRunner, Commission Junction and vcmedia.”

Monday, December 4, 2006

Yahoo China could spin off from Alibaba within 12 months - report

Yahoo China, the Chinese subsidiary of, could spin off from, the Zhejiang-based internet company, the China Internet Weekly reported. The article in the weekly journal cited unnamed sources close to Yang Zhiyuan, the Yahoo CEO, as saying the spin-off could take place within 12 months.
Yahoo paid USD 1bn to take 40% stake in last year and merged with Yahoo China. The article added that the Alibaba's merger with Yahoo China could be strategically wrong. Xie Yun, the previous Yahoo China resigned 40 days after he took office on 27 November, which had been taken as an indication that the US-based Yahoo senior executives had lost confidence in Ma Yun, the Alibaba-Yahoo China CEO and were not satisfied with the development strategies in Yahoo China and

CNET remains an 'attractive' target - research report

CNET, the web-based media company in California, is "attractive" as a target, Citigroup reported.
Citigroup made the remark in a 29 November research report prepared by Mark Mahaney, Sandeep Aggarwal, and Matthew Reichek. The report ranked CNET stock as "buy" and "speculative."
The report focused on Citigroup's "thesis" on the company stock and provided an update on the bank's long-term thesis on the stock. Among four expectations for CNET is Citigroup's continued view that CNET remains "attractive" as a target, with past M&A deal multiples suggesting that there might be an upside of over 30% off of the current stock valuation.
The report said that Citigroup neither has a "specific acquirer" in mind, nor a timetable for a potential deal.
The report said the traditional media are now confronted with "secular growth" impediments, and thus buying an online content firm like CNET is thus a potentially "logical possibility."
The report said that a 2007 EBITDA multiple of 17 would lead to a take-out at a USD 11.86 take-out price, which is a premium of 40%.
CNET has a USD 1.28bn market cap, the report said.

Friday, December 1, 2006

New York Times chairman mulling taking company private - report

New York Times, the New York listed newspaper group, is seeing its chairman mull taking the company private, reported the Boston Herald. The report, citing a report in Business Week, reported Chairman Arthur Sulzberger has been getting advice from Steven Rattner, who runs Quadrangle Group, about taking the New York Times private. According to the report, Rattner also held talks with members of the founding family that control the New York Times last spring to discuss alternatives including a LBO. New York Times has a market capitalization of USD 3.5bn. The Business Week article cited unnamed sources, according to the Boston Herald.