Last week’s biggest North American deals reflected one each from the liveliest areas of an otherwise moribund market: An acquisition from India; a hedge-fund deal tied to basic commodities; a purchase in the credit-card arena; and an acquisition by a so-called blank-check company.

Atop the top 10 deals for the week ended Saturday was Mumbai-based Tata Motors Ltd.’s $2.3-billion agreement to buy the Jaguar and Land Rover automotive liens from Ford Motor Co. It was followed by ConAgra Foods Inc.’s $2.1-billion sale of its trade group, a supplier of agricultural food products, along with trading and merchandising operations, to Ospraie Special Opportunities Fund, a New York-based hedge fund.

The other two deals topping $1 billion were American Express Co.’s purchase GE Money’s corporate services division of GE Money Home Finance ltd., and the purchase of London-based Global Ship Lease Inc. by Marathon Acquisitioin Corp., according to data provided to CFO.com by mergermarket. Marathan is a New York-based special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC — the type of operation that also goes by the name of blank-check company, because it is designed purely as an acquisition shell without other businesses.

The value of last week’s dealmaking plunged to $4.85 billion from the prior week’s $18.76 billion, though it was largely a quirk of the statistical compilation. The same number of North American deals was struck in both weeks – 29 – however in the most recent week the Jaguar deal and several other larger deals involved a target outside North America. The value tally excludes any acquired business outside North America.

For the year to date, 779 M&A agreements have been made, totaling $115.91 billion, still substantially below the $381.93 billion during the same period of a record first half in 2007, when 1,188 deals were struck.

Tata Motors Ltd. to buy Jaguar Ltd. and Land Rover Ltd. from Ford Motor Co. for $2.3 billion

Tata Motors agreed to acquire the Warwick, UK-based Jaguar and Land Rover automobile manufacturing operations for cash from Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich. The deal is expected to closed by the end of the next quarter.
Seller financial advisor: Goldman Sachs; HSBC Investment Bank; KPMG; Morgan Stanley
Bidder financial advisor: JPMorgan; Citigroup
Seller legal advisor: Lovells; Blake, Cassels & Graydon; Hogan & Hartson
Bidder legal advisor: Allen & Overy; Herbert Smith, Gleiss Lutz, Stibbe

Ospraie Special Opportunities Fund to buy ConAgra Foods Trade Group from ConAgra Foods Inc. for $2.1 billion

Ospraie, an affiliate fund of New York-based hedge fund Ospraie Management LLC is paying cash for the unit of Omaha-based ConAgra Foods. The unit of the food products retailing giant supplies agriculture food products, and is involved in trading and merchandising. The transaction is expected to close within 60 days.
Seller financial advisor: Centerview Partners; UBS
Bidder financial advisor: JP Morgan; Credit Suisse
Seller legal advisor: Kirkland & Ellis
Bidder legal advisor: Jones Day; Blake, Cassels & Graydon

American Express Co. to buy the GE Money corporate payment services division from GE Money Home Finance Ltd. for $1.1 billion

New York-based American Express, the provider of credit payment card products, and travel-related services, agreed to pay cash for the GE Money’s corporate payment services division, based in Stamford, Conn. GE Money is part of GE Money Home Finance, based in London, which provides financial related products and services. The transaction is expected to close by the end of March.
Seller financial advisor: Goldman Sachs
Bidder financial advisor: UBS
Seller legal advisor: Sidley Austin Brown & Wood
Bidder legal advisor: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Marathon Acquisition Corp. to buy Global Ship Lease Inc. from CMA-CGM SA for $1.02 billion

New York-based Marathon, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), also called a blank-check concern, agreed to acquire London-based Global Ship Lease, which acquires and charters vessels for container shipping companies. The seller is CMA-CGM SA, a Marseille, France-based shipping company. The price, in cash and stock, includes net debt. The transaction is expected to closed by the third quarter.
Seller financial advisor: Citigroup
Bidder financial advisor: Jefferies & Company
Seller legal advisor: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
Bidder legal advisor: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett ; Jones Day; and Seward & Kissel

Sherritt International Corp. to buy a 58.8-percent stake in Royal Utilities Income Fund from Ontario Teachers Pension Plan for $688 million

Toronto-based resource company Sherritt will buy the stake in Royal Utilities Income Fund , a Toronto-based producer of thermal coal for cash and stock from the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and other shareholders.
Seller financial advisor: RBC Capital Markets; GMP Securities
Bidder financial advisor: National Bank Financial
Seller legal advisor: Stikeman Elliott
Bidder legal advisor: Torys

Caterpillar Inc. to buy a 16.6-percent stake in Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi Ltd. from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd for $500 million

Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar, a manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines, agreed to acquire the Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi stake from Tokyo-based Mitsubishi, a heavy machinery manufacturer. Completion is expected by August.
Seller financial advisor: UBS
Bidder financial advisor: Citigroup
Seller legal advisor: Not Disclosed
Bidder legal advisor: Not Disclosed

L-1 Identity Solutions Inc. to buy the Secure ID Systems business of Digimarc Corp. for $250 million

Stamford, Conn.-baed L-1 Identity Solutions, which provides identity solutions to governments, law enforcement agencies, and businesses, agreed to pay cash and stock acquire the ID Systems business of Digimarc Corporation, the listed Beaverton, OR based supplier of secure media solutions used in a wide range of security, identification and digital media content applications, for a cash and equity consideration of approximately $250m. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2008.
Seller financial advisor: Imperial Capital Bank
Bidder financial advisor: Jefferies Group
Seller legal advisor: Latham & Watkins
Bidder legal advisor: Weil, Gotshal & Manges

ENMAX Green Power Inc. to buy Kettles Hill Wind Energy Inc. from Creststreet Kettles Hill Windpower LP for $159 million

Calgary, Alberta-based ENMAX is an energy company and subsidiary of ENMAX Energy Corp., a retailer of electricity. It agreed to acquire Calgary-based Kettles Hill Wind Energy Inc., the operator of Windpower, from Calgary-based Creststreet Kettles Hill Windpower, a generator and operator of electricity. The price includes debt, and the transaction is expected to close by end of May.
Seller financial advisor: Blair Franklin Capital Partners
Bidder financial advisor: Internal
Seller legal advisor: McCarthy Tétrault
Bidder legal advisor: Fraser Milner Casgrain

Bonneville International Corp. to buy KRBV-FM from Radio One Inc. for $138 million

Salt Lake City-based Bonneville, a diversified media company with television, radio, broadcasting, advertising, and satellite operations, agreed to acquire Los Angeles radio station KRBV-FM from Radio One, based in Lanham, Md., a radio broadcasting company. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.
Seller financial advisor: Rothschild
Bidder financial advisor: Lazard
Seller legal advisor: Wiley Rein
Bidder legal advisor: Kirton & McConkie P.C; Jones Waldo

Good Samaritan Hospital to buy Dayton Heart Hospital from MedCath Corp. for $55 million

West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Good Samaritan, a medical centre operator, agreed to acquire Dayton Heart Hospital, an Ohio hospital providing treatment of diagnosis and cardiovascular disease. The seller, Charlotte-based MedCath, is a hospital operator specializing in diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The transaction is expected to close on May 16.
Seller financial advisor: Not Disclosed
Bidder financial advisor: Not available
Seller legal advisor: Not Disclosed
Bidder legal advisor: Not available

source: mergermarket

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