IBM enters HR web applications market with Kenexa buy

ARMONK, N.Y., Mon Aug 27, 2012 – IBM Corp. will buy Kenexa Corp. for about $1.3 billion to enter the human resources software market in a move that would likely increase competition with Oracle Corp and SAP AG who recently bought into the sector.

The deal underpins the importance that slow-growing technology giants place on faster-growing, web-based software makers, whose products are less vulnerable to the economic downturn as there are no upfront costs for program licenses, dedicated hardware or installation.

Germany’s SAP bought Kenexa’s competitor SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion in cash last December, while Oracle bought rival Taleo Corp. for about $1.9 billion in February.

The two companies made other cloud purchases, including RightNow Technologies and Ariba Inc.

Kenexa shares jumped nearly 42 percent, equaling the premium offered, to a life high of $45.92 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. Shares of peer Cornerstone OnDemand Inc were up 7 percent at $26.82 in afternoon trading.

The acquisition suggests that IBM is ready to find a foothold in the fiercely competitive market for delivering business applications via the web.

It brings the company face-to face against close partner SAP and rivals Oracle and Inc., the largest maker of web-based software in a crowded market.

Hertz to buy car hire rival Dollar Thrifty for $2.3 billion

PARK RIDGE, N.J., Mon Aug 27, 2012 – Hertz Global Holdings agreed to buy rival Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (DTG.N) for about $2.3 billion in a deal that puts about 95 percent of the U.S. car rental market in the hands of three companies.

The sale ends more than two years of on-off takeover talks for Dollar Thrifty involving Hertz, the No. 2. U.S. car rental company, and third-ranked Avis Group Inc. that had been plagued by disagreements over price and doubts about regulatory approval.

The deal cements Hertz’s position as the number two and leaves Avis far behind in third. Privately held Enterprise Holdings, with its Alamo, National and Enterprise brands, is far and away the market leader.

Shares of Hertz jumped 14 percent in premarket trade on Monday, while Dollar Thrifty shares traded up 7 percent.

Dollar Thrifty, the final big target in an industry that has consolidated rapidly, this month urged Hertz to make a compelling bid or leave it alone.

Hertz will buy Dollar Thrifty for $87.50 per share in cash, a premium of 8 percent over Dollar Thrifty’s Friday closing price of $81 on the New York Stock Exchange, and almost double a $1.2 billion offer Hertz made in April 2010.

Avis could still make a further bid. The deal does not carry with Hertz has no break-up fee and Dollar Thrifty is allowed dto solicit another offer for 30 days, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Several top Dollar Thrifty shareholders told Reuters last week they would accept a takeover offer from Hertz that valued the company at more than $87 per share.

Avis’ entry into the bidding in 2010 pushed up the price for Dollar Thrifty, which was at one point during the financial crisis was offered $2 per share by Hertz.

Aetna to buy Coventry, expand Medicare/Medicaid business

HARTFORD, Conn., Mon Aug 20, 2012 – Health insurer Aetna Inc. said on Monday that it would buy rival Coventry Health Care Inc. for $5.6 billion to increase its share of U.S. government-backed Medicare and Medicaid business.

The purchase, which will add more than 5 million members to Aetna’s ranks, comes just weeks after rival WellPoint Inc struck a deal to buy Amerigroup Corp in a major expansion of its Medicaid business, administering the government’s health plan for the poor.

Bankers and investors see the wave of health insurer consolidation accelerating further as the United States moves to implement President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul.

The U.S. health reform law aims to provide coverage for 16 million more Americans through privately run insurance exchanges in each state and will expand Medicaid eligibility for an additional 16 million people by raising limits on household income.

“Integrating Coventry into Aetna will complement our strategy to expand our core insurance business, increase our presence in the fast-growing government sector and expand our relationships with providers in local geographies,” Aetna Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said in a statement.

Under the deal, Aetna will pay $42.08 per share – $27.30 in cash and 0.3885 of its common shares. That is a 20.4 percent premium over Coventry’s closing stock price of $34.94 on Friday.

Aetna said the purchase would help lift its share of revenue from its government business to more than 30 percent from 23 percent.

It will help Aetna add nearly 4 million medical members and 1.5 million Medicare Part D members. Medicare Part D is a federal program that reduces prescription drug costs for beneficiaries of the government plan for the elderly.

Tesoro to buy BP refinery, related assets for $2.5 billion

CARSON, Calif., Mon Aug 13, 2012 – Tesoro Corp. said it would buy BP Plc’s refinery here and related assets for about $2.5 billion.

Independent refiner Tesoro said on Monday that it would pay $1.18 billion for BP’s refining and marketing business in Southern California, plus the value of the refinery’s inventory at the time of closing. At current prices, the inventory is valued at about $1.3 billion.

The 266,000-barrel-per-day, high complexity refinery is located south of Los Angeles. The deal also includes a retail marketing network of about 800 dealer-operated gas stations, ownership of BP’s Arco brand, 51 percent ownership in a company-operated 400 megawatt cogeneration facility, and other assets.

Tesoro, which expects the deal to close before mid-2013, said it planned to pay for the purchase with debt and cash generated by dropping some of the assets to its master limited partnership, Tesoro Logistics LP.

BP had said in late July that it was in advanced talks on the sale of the Carson plant, as well as its Texas City, Texas, refinery.

BP announced in February 2011 that it would sell the refineries by the end of 2012 as the company reorients its U.S. refining operations to take advantage of Canadian crude supplies.

BP’s North American products division, which oversees its U.S. refineries, will wrap up a three-year probation term this month stemming from the 2005 explosion that killed 15 people and injured many more.

Apple to buy fingerprint sensor maker AuthenTec for $356 million

SAN FRANCISCO, Fri Jul 27, 2012 – Apple Inc. has agreed to buy AuthenTec Inc. for $8 per share, the maker of fingerprint sensor chips used in personal computers said, in a deal valued at about $356 million.
AuthenTec makes security software and chips for mobile phones that it licenses to companies such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. It also produces chips for fingerprint recognition and near-field communication.
Melbourne, Fla.-based Authentec disclosed the deal in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Based on Thursday’s closing price $5.07, the offer represents a premium of 58 percent for AuthenTec’s shares.
AuthenTec, which also counts Lenovo Group Ltd., Fujitsu Ltd. and Dell Inc. as customers, has annual revenue of about $70 million.

GSK set for Human Genome takeover: sources

NEW YORK/LONDON – GlaxoSmithKline is expected to announce a deal to buy Human Genome Sciences for about $2.8 billion, ending a three-month hostile pursuit of the U.S. biotech company on friendly terms after sweetening its offer.
Sources familiar with the situation said Britain’s biggest drugmaker was set to pay around $14 per share, up from $13 offered previously, which Human Genome – an early pioneer of gene-based drug discovery – had rejected as inadequate.
Biotechnology companies are in increasing demand as Big Pharma companies seek new products to replace older medicines that are going off patent in the biggest wave of drug patent expirations in history.

SBA Communications to buy tower sites for $1.45 billion

BOCA RATON, Fla., Tue Jun 26, 2012 – Wireless tower operator SBA Communications Corp. will buy 3,252 mobile phone tower sites in the United States and Puerto Rico from privately held TowerCo for about $1.45 billion to benefit from an explosion in data traffic.

TowerCo will get $1.2 billion in cash and 4.6 million SBA common shares, the companies said in a statement.

SBA shares closed at $55.64 on the Nasdaq on Monday.

The Boca Raton, Florida-based company said the deal will immediately add to adjusted funds from operations on closing. TowerCo assets will add about $93 million to $95 million to its cash flow for the calendar year 2013.

A mobile tower can host antennas for multiple operators leading to lower cost for the customers and more profit for the tower owner.

“We believe the TowerCo assets are high quality, well located and have ample capacity for additional tenants,” SBA Chief Executive Jeffrey Stoops said in a statement.

The company expects the deal, which will take its tower count to over 15,000, to close in the fourth quarter.

SBA, valued at $6.64 billion, is the smallest of the three major U.S. tower companies. But it is growing quickly as competition among the existing players is limited and entry barriers are high for new players.

None of the 21 analysts covering SBA has a “sell” rating on the stock. Nineteen rate it a “buy” or a “strong buy,” according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.

The deal with TowerCo is SBA’s second billion-dollar acquisition after it agreed in February to buy more than 2,300 tower sites from Mobilitie LLC for about $1.09 billion.

SBA and rivals American Tower Corp and Crown Castle International Corp are scrambling to increase capacity to meet the growing demand for data from users of mobile devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad.

American Tower spent $500 million to buy 2,500 towers from Telefónica’s Mexican unit in December. Crown Castle swiftly followed by snapping up NextG Networks Inc. to expand its small antenna business.

Walgreen to buy 45 percent of Alliance Boots for $6.7 billion

DEERFIELD, Ill., Tue Jun 19, 2012 – Walgreen Co. said it would buy a 45 percent stake in KKR & Co-backed Alliance Boots for $6.7 billion in a cash and stock deal that would bring together the two largest pharmacy chains in the United States and Europe.

Walgreen, which has the option to buy the rest of Alliance Boots in the next three years, said it would pay $4 billion in cash and 83.4 million shares for the stake.

The combined business would have more than 370 distribution centers delivering to more than 170,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals in 21 countries. It will also be the world’s largest buyer of prescription drugs and many other health products.

Private equity firm KKR, which invested $2.45 billion in Alliance Boots in 2007, will receive $2.0 billion in cash and stock and will gain a seat on Walgreen’s board.

Walgreen said the deal would add substantially to its earnings per share in the first year.

The company also reported third-quarter earnings of $537 million, or 62 cents per share, compared with $603 million, or 65 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding costs related to the Alliance Boots deal, Walgreen earned 63 cents per share.

Energy Transfer Partners to buy Sunoco for $5.3 billion

TULSA, Okla., Mon Apr 30, 2012 – Pipeline operator Energy Transfer Partners LP said it will buy Sunoco Inc. for $5.3 billion in stock and cash to get into the more lucrative crude oil transportation business as natural gas prices stay weak.

Oil and gas production from shale formations in the United States has surged over the past two years, creating a scramble to build infrastructure to get supplies to refining hubs.

The resulting oversupply has sent natural gas prices to their lowest in a decade and made drilling in so-called “dry gas” fields uneconomical.

“As we have said in the past year, our goal is to derive more of our distributable cash flow from the transportation of heavier hydrocarbons like crude oil, NGLs (natural-gas liquids), and refined products,” Energy Transfer CEO Kelcy Warren said in a statement.

Sunoco shareholders will receive $25 in cash and 0.5245 Energy Transfer units, or $50.13, for every share they own.

The offer represents a 22.5 percent premium to Sunoco’s Friday close of $40.91 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sunoco, which was once a major independent refiner in the Northeastern United States, plans to end nearly 120 years in the U.S. refining business as high crude prices and slumping demand squeeze profits.

Sunoco, which plans to get out of the refining business, said it will continue talks with private equity firm Carlyle Group LP for a joint venture to run its 335,000-barrel-per-day Philadelphia refinery.

A deal with Carlyle would save the refinery, the biggest on the U.S. East Coast, from a planned closure and ease concerns about potential fuel shortage on the East Coast this summer.

Energy Transfer said the Sunoco deal would immediately add to its distributable cash flow and change the cash flow mix of its pipeline businesses to about 70 percent natural gas and 30 percent liquids.

Citrix Systems buys Danish online work platform Podio

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Wed Apr 11, 2012 – Business software maker Citrix Systems Inc. said it acquired Danish online work platform Podio to expand its social media offerings for small and medium-sized companies, hoping to benefit from growing demand for social software with workplace applications.

Under the buzz words “social collaboration,” IT vendors are taking a cue from social media used by consumers outside of work to create similar tools for the workplace, making it easier for employees to share information or work together on projects or in groups.

Research firm Forrester said the market for corporate social software will grow rapidly in coming years. It sees the market reaching $6.4 billion by 2016, compared with $600 million in 2010.

Podio, founded in 2009 and based in Copenhagen, allows users to create specific applications for their work projects without having technical skills.

In addition, Podio lets “users create their own preferred workflows and social collaboration activities that best suit their projects and the way they want to work.”

Tommy Ahlers, chief executive of Podio, said social media company Twitter uses Podio’s services to run an application for merger and acquisition processes, and publishing house Conde Nast uses Podia’s offerings to plan their releases.

“What we loved about Podio is that it created the platform where you can download and create,” said Bernardo de Albergaria, who heads Citrix’s online collaboration unit.

“Other social stream providers are more focused on talking about work instead of getting work done,” he added.