M&A Roundup

Tribune Co. and investors; McKeeson Corp. and Per-Se Technologies; Bain Capital Partners and OSI Restaurant Partners; Royal Ahold; Tokyo Stock Exch...
Helen ShawNovember 9, 2006

•Los Angeles tycoons Eli Broad and Ronald Burke have made a preliminary bid of an undisclosed amount for Tribune Co., the parent company of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Recently, several investment firms have made bids for the entire company. Billionaire David Geffen is reportedly interested in buying the Los Angeles Times.

•McKeeson Corp., an operator of an electronic pharmacy network, has agreed to acquire Per-Se Technologies, a provider of administrative services to hospitals and pharmacies, for $1.8 billion. The deal, which is expected to close by March 2007, will more than double the scale of McKesson’s transaction-processing services.

•Founders of OSI Restaurant Partners Inc., along with Bain Capital Partners and Catteron Partners, will acquire OSI Restaurant Partners for $2.98 billion — the largest restaurant acquisition ever. OSI Restaurant Partners is the owner of the Outback Steakhouse chain. The transaction is expected to close by the end of April.

•Royal Ahold, the Dutch owner of the Giant and Stop & Shop supermarket stores, has put its U.S. Foodservice and eastern European units on the block. Centaurus Capital and Paulson & Co., two shareholders of Royal Ahold, have urged the company to sell some business units. Ahold has undergone executive and strategy changes since its accounting fraud, which overstated earnings by $800 million from 2000 to 2003.

•The Tokyo Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange are conducting talks on possible co-operation, but have not announced a definitive arrangement. World-wide, major exchanges have been pursuing mergers. In March, the London Stock Exchange rejected a $4.2 billion takeover bid by the Nasdaq Stock Market.

•Vivendi, the French media and telecom group, and investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, have ended talks in which the two discussed a possible $50 billion friendly takeover of Vivendi. Earlier this year, Vivendi shareholder Sebastian Holdings approached the company with an interest to split the conglomerate, but Vivendi rejected the approach.

•Abbott Laboratories Inc. has agreed to purchase Kos Pharmaceuticals for $3.7 billion in cash. The deal would make the combined company a leader in the market for cholesterol medications; Kos’ drugs, Niaspan and Advicor, aim to improve “good” HDL cholesterol. Kos also has experimental products to treat asthma and diabetes.

•Isadore Sharp, chief executive officer of Four Seasons Hotels Inc., Bill Gates’ Cascade Investments, and Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal have offered $3.7 billion to take Four Seasons Hotels private. Sharp’s family will maintain a 10 percent stake in the company and Gates and Alwaleed will share the remaining shares. Currently Alwaleed is the largest shareholder with a 22 percent stake and the Gates Foundation owns 6 percent.