Lately, M&A reporting has been going a bit gonzo. This week alone we’ve had a recruitment website claim that Occidental Petroleum was about to buy Apache (denied) and reports on a Spanish-language site that Reckitt Benckiser had outbid P&G in an auction to buy Church & Dwight (also denied). Meanwhile, the more reputed media were running with stories about Bayer bidding for Monsanto (first denied, then confirmed).
This upsurge in bum steers, bogus denials and half-baked tales in obscure places makes FT Alphaville’s RAW warning ever more essential. Please, read the damn warning.
Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK) plans to make a non-binding offer to acquire Relypsa, (Nasdaq: RLYP), a biopharmaceutical company with a market cap of over $900 million, according to a source claiming to have direct knowledge of the situation. A price could not be learned.
Frankly, we’re sick of this. You are too, most likely. None of us wants to spend another day being strafed by rumour, counter rumour and unguided speculation about tobacco M&A. We’ve slogged through too many balance-of-probabilities analyses. We’ve had more than our fill of noncommittal steers during conversations with unattributable people familiar with things. It’s been going on for three solid months, and that’s enough. Consider this an intervention.
The Imperial Tobacco bid theory will follow after the RAW disclaimer. Read the disclaimer.
XenoPort, a US small-cap drug maker and former GlaxoSmithKline partner, is a rumoured takeover target for sector peer Supernus Pharmaceuticals.
According to usually reliable people, Supernus has put an offer on the table of around $7.40 per share for XenoPort, which would value the latter at $470m. Takeover speculation has already lifted XenoPort by 18 per cent in the past week, taking its gain over the past month to 40 per cent after the company effectively put itself up for sale. Read more
Rumours are reaching FT Alphaville that nTelos, a US regional wireless company, is a takeover target for Shenandoah Telecommunications.
Shenandoah (better known as Shentel) has been putting together a knockout $200m offer for the Virginia-based mobile broadband provider, a nearly 50 per cent premium to Tuesday’s closing value, according to people claiming direct knowledge of the negotiations. A price of around $9.25 a share has been all but agreed, they said, against Tuesday’s close of $6.20. Read more
Warning! Read the boiler plate here
What follows concerns the likely actions of the government in Ulaanbaatar, which is pretty much the definition of a frontier market and all the perils that go with it. With that warning, come with us to Mongolia.
What we hear, from sources with a record of reliability, is that the government is strongly considering the purchase of a small stake in Turquoise Hill, the mining company controlled by Rio Tinto. Read more
It’s 2:45am in Vancouver. Do you know where your investor relations department is?
Here’s this morning’s Daily Mail. Read more