Deals: More Media Mania

In our M&A roundup for the week ending May 18, as the buzz continued over the $5-billion Dow Jones-Murdoch "non-deal," larger Thomson-Reuters and Microsoft-aQuantive purchases made the top ten.

Last week, Thomson Corp. of Canada officially announced its $18.2 billion acquisition of U.K. financial news service Reuters Group plc, while in another branch of the media business, Microsoft Corp. agreed to pay $5.03 billion for internet-advertising specialist aQuantive Inc. No agreement has been reached, of course, in that other high-profile media proposal: News Corp.’s $5-billion offer for Dow Jones.

Last week was the first in 2007 with five North American deals each being struck with a value over $5 billion, although total M&A of $73.5 billion still was far short of the record Feb. 2 week, when the $93.6 billion in dealmaking was dominated by the Kraft Foods spinoff.

Private-equity buyouts continued to dominate deal activity overall, with five LBOs among the top ten. They were led by Blackstone’s buyout of Alliance Data Systens and Cerberus Capital’s of Chrysler. That brought the total value of buyout deals to $269.3 billion, compared to $81.9 billion for the same period last year, according to data provided to CFO.com by mergermarket.
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JPMorgan advised four of last week’s top ten deals, the most of any financial adviser.

Thomson to buy Reuters for $18.2 billion

The agreement calls for a transaction for a mixture of cash and shares, with Thomson and Reuters combining their management and operations as if they were a single economic enterprise–although they will retain their separate legal identities.
Seller financial advisor: Blackstone Group Holdings; Citigroup; JPMorgan; Morgan Stanley; UBS
Bidder financial advisor: Bear, Stearns & Co; Morgan Stanley; Perella Weinberg Partners
Seller legal advisor: Clifford Chance; Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg; Slaughter and May; Weil Gotshal & Manges; Stikeman Elliott
Bidder legal advisor: Allen & Overy; Shearman & Sterling; Torys

Blackstone Capital Partners V LP to buy Alliance Data Systems Corp. for $7.69 billion

Alliance Data Systems’ definitive agreement with the affiliate of The Blackstone Group is for $81.75 per share, a premium of 29.8 percent .
Seller financial advisor: Banc of America Securities; Lehman Brothers
Bidder financial advisor: Credit Suisse; Blackstone Group Holdings
Seller legal advisor: Kirkland & Ellis; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Bidder legal advisor: Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett

Cerberus Capital Management LP to buy 80.1 percent of Chrysler Holding LLC from DaimlerChrysler AG for $7.45 billion

The transaction is on a debt-free and cash-free basis, valuing the entire company at $9.3 billion. The remaining 19.9 will be retained by DaimlerChrysler. Completion of the transaction, expected in the third quarter, is subject to customary closing conditions including the receipt of regulatory approvals and Cerberus financing arrangements.
Seller financial advisor: JPMorgan
Bidder financial advisor: Goldman Sachs
Seller legal advisor: Fasken Martineau; Shearman & Sterling; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
Bidder legal advisor: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy; Schulte Roth & Zabel

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