Deals: Private Equity Plays Both Sides

In our M&A Roundup for the week ended March 2, billion-dollar deals nearly vanish, but private players are back in the (mid-sized) game.

Billion-dollar dealmaking did a disappearing act after ending February strong. But private equity made a comeback, with buyers and sellers accounting for half the top ten North American deals last week.

The deals themselves were a rag-tag assortment of mid-sized transactions except for the one with the highest value: Hellman & Friedman’s $2.06-billion buyout of Getty Images Inc., which provides photo and other imagry to publishers and others.

Other, smaller private equity deals were exit transactions, including Newell Rubbermaid buying Technical Concepts LLC from Liberty Partners for $445 million, and Novell acquiring Plate Spin Ltd. from six private players for $205 million, according to data provided to CFO.com by mergermarket.

The total value of last week’s 34 deals was $5.60 billion. That brought dealmaking for the year-to-date to 549 transactions worth $76.40 billion, just a sliver of the 924 deals valued at $320.16 billion at this time last year.

Meanwhile, again some of the most talked-about transactions remained off the charts. While there seemed to be little progress in Microsoft’s $40-billion pursuit of Yahoo, for example, United Technologies made an unsolicited $2.63 billion cash offer for automated-teller maker Diebold. Such bids don’t appear on the list until a deal is struck.

Hellman & Friedman LLC to buy Getty Images Inc. for $2.06 billion

Seattle-based Getty definitively agreed to be acquired by private-equity company Hellman & Friedman for $34 per share, a premium of 39 percent. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.
Seller financial advisor: Goldman Sachs
Bidder financial advisor: Barclays Capital ; and RBS
Seller legal advisor: Weil Gotshal & Manges; and
Davis Polk & Wardwell
Bidder legal advisor: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Kelson Energy IV LLC to buy the Channelview Cogeneration Plant from Reliant Energy Channelview LP and Reliant Energy Services Channelview LLC for $847 million

Kelson, an independent power producer, agreed to acquire the Channelview cogeneration plant in Texas and related contracts from Houston-based Reliant Energy through its subsidiaries in a deal that was $468 million before debt assumption. Four of Reliant Energy’s subsidiaries related to the Channelview plant had filed for bankruptcy in August 2007. The sale is expected to close in the second or third quarter, although a court overseeing the bankruptcy must approve it first.
Seller financial advisor: Not available
Bidder financial advisor: Not available
Seller legal advisor: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan; Richards, Layton & Finger
Bidder legal advisor: Not available

Newell Rubbermaid Inc to buy Technical Concepts LLC from Liberty Partners for $445 million

Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid, which makes branded consumer and commercial products, agreed to buy the Mundelein, Ill.-based Technical Concepts LLC, a designer and manufacturer of washroom hygiene products from New York-based private equity company Liberty. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.
Seller financial advisor: Robert W. Baird
Bidder financial advisor: Credit Suisse
Seller legal advisor: Not available
Bidder legal advisor: Latham & Watkins

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