Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The WSJ reports that the consortium of banks led by Royal Bank of Scotland said Tue it will go forward with a €71.1bn ($95.61bn) takeover bid for ABN Amro (ABN), topping a bid from Barclays and continuing a struggle with Bank of America for control of the Dutch bank's US arm. The consortium, which includes the Dutch bank Fortis and Spain's Santander Central Hispano, said the offer is 79% in cash and through the issue of new shares in RBS. The cash component was originally 70% in a proposed offer outlined last month. The trio of banks said the €38.40 is a 13.7% premium to the value of Barclays PLC's rival offer.

According to the WSJ, Tishman Speyer Properties and Lehman Brothers yesterday were near a deal to purchase Archstone-Smith trust (ASN) for more than $12bn. A deal could be announced as early as today. Exact terms of the transaction couldn't be learned, but Archstone-Smith's mkt cap is $12.3bn and an agreement would likely involve a premium. The buyers also would assume $6.3bn in debt. That would make the deal one of the largest privatizations of a public REIT.

The WSJ reports that the FTC will conduct the govt antitrust review of Google’s (GOOG) proposed $3.1bn purchase of DoubleClick. The FTC Fri made a so-called "second request" of Google, for additional information to assess any possible overlapping lines of business. The issuance of a 2nd request is a signal that the FTC is taking a hard look at the deal, as was expected.

The WSJ reports that Avaya (AV) is in talks with private-equity and strategic bidders about selling part or all of the co, the latest sign that there could be a new round of M&A in the telecom-equipment industry. Among parties that could be interested in all or parts of Avaya are private-equity firms, which are attracted to Avaya's cash flow and low debt, as well as network-equipment makers like Norton (NT). Avaya is in talks with private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners about a LBO plan.

According to the WSJ, private-equity firms are in serious discussions about a buyout of CDW (CDWC). Chicago's Madison Dearborn Partners was considered in the lead to purchase the co. But one person familiar with the discussions noted that they are at an especially sensitive stage and could fall apart. Madison Dearborn also might receive some late competition from other buyout firms.

The WSJ reports that URS (URS) agreed to buy rival engineering co Washington Group Intl. (WGII) for about $2.6bn in cash and stock, in a deal that highlights a construction boom driven by energy-efficiency and govt projects. The deal, valued at $80 for each Washington Group share, represents a 14% premium.

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