Deals: The Blockbuster Is Back

In our M&A Roundup for the week ended May 18, four deals top $2.5 billion, with HP-EDS and the sale of defense contractor DRS topping the list.

The $13-billion Hewlett-Packard acquisition of EDS led a week’s worth of deal activity that offered a glint of the year-ago merger mania. Deals lining up behind it included the nearly $5-billion acquisition of defense contractor DRS Technologies by Rome-based Finemeccanica and a bit of European turnabout by Staples Inc., which is offering to acquire Amsterdam-based Corporate Express for nearly $4 billion.

Private equity even reentered the big-deal realm, with Carlyle Group paying $2.54 billion for a majority stake in the government advisory business of Booz Allen & Hamilton. In all, there were six private-equity related deals among last week’s 46, according to data provided to CFO.com by mergermarket. The private deals were valuied at $3.84 billion.

In all, dealmaking in the week totaled $26.42 billion, up from the healthy $15.47 billion of the prior week. The week’s transactions increased to 1,362 the number of deals done so far this year — deals worth $278.43 billion — compared to last year’s 2,000 deals worth $659.99 billion. The top 10 North American deals of the week follow.

Hewlett-Packard Co. to buy Electronic Data Systems Corp. for $13.04 billion

Plano, Texas-based Electronic Data Systems agreed definitively to be acquired by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard, with both boards approving the transaction. EDS provides information technology and business process outsourcing services worldwide, while H-P offers hardware and technologies, software, and services. The $25.00 price per share of EDS offers a premium of 3.61 percent. The transaction is expected to close in the second half.
Seller financial advisor: Citigroup; Evercore Partners
Bidder financial advisor: JPMorgan; Lehman Brothers
Seller legal advisor: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison (Advising Evercore Partners); Weil Gotshal & Manges (Advising Citigroup); Willkie Farr & Gallagher
Bidder legal advisor: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Finmeccanica SpA to buy DRS Technologies Inc. for $4.96 billion

Parsippany, N.J.based DRS supplies integrated products, services, and support to military forces, government agencies, and prime contractors worldwide. Rome-based defense company Finmeccanica, offered $81 a share, a premium of 4.9 percent. The transaction is expected to close by the fourth quarter.
Seller financial advisor: Bear, Stearns & Co; Merrill Lynch
Bidder financial advisor: Goldman Sachs; Lehman Brothers; Mediobanca
Seller legal advisor: Latham & Watkins (Advising Merrill Lynch); Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
Bidder legal advisor: Arnold & Porter; Chiomenti Studio Legale; Legance Studio Legale Associato (Advising Goldman Sachs; Mediobanca); Linklaters (Advising Goldman Sachs; Mediobanca); Sullivan & Cromwell

Staples Inc. to buy Corporate Express NV for $3.96 billion

Framington, Mass.-based office-products company Staples launched an offer to shareholders of Amsterdam-based Corporate Express, also a supplier of office products. Corporate Express holders will receive $12.41 (EUR 8), representing a premium of 5.1 percent. Staples expects to make an offer for both the Corporate Express depositary receipt of preference shares A and the 2-percent subordinated convertible bonds due 2010 issued by Corporate Express.
Seller financial advisor: ABN AMRO; JPMorgan; Deutsche Bank
Bidder financial advisor: Lehman Brothers
Seller legal advisor: Allen & Overy
Bidder legal advisor: Clifford Chance

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