Norwegian, Brazilian, Greek, and British buyers accounted for half the top 10 North American deals struck last week. But in the relatively quiet merger-and-acquisition environment, the snapping up of properties hardly represented a massive continental sell-off. Indeed, only $3.9-billion worth of transactions were recorded in the weekend ended Saturday, sharply off even from the prior week’s lackluster $5.60 billion.

The largest deal was Oslo-based StatoilHydor ASA’s purchase of 50 percent of Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s Brazilian Peregrino project, along with a 25 percent stake in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico Kaskida discovery, for a total of $1.8 billion.

Brazil — and specifically its Sao Paulo-based JBS SA beef-processing company — was involved as a buyer in the number-two and number-three deals: the $565 million purchase Smithfield Beef Group from Continental Grain Co. and Smithfield Foods Inc., and the $541 million deal to buy National Beef Packing LLC from U.S. Premium Beef Ltd.

Private equity buyers, after a comeback the prior week, resumed their near-hibernation in the M&A markets. Only three of the 35 deals registered last week were buyouts, accounting for a small slice of overall volume, according to data provided to CFO.com by mergermarket.

For the year to date, 602 transactions worth $81.79 billion have been struck, down from 1,021 deals with a value of $330.31 billion during the raging M&A market for the same period of 2007.

StatoilHydro ASA to buy 50 percent of the Brazilian Peregrino project, and 25 percent of the Kaskida discovery from Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for $1.80 billion

Oslo-based StatoilHydro agreed to pay Woodlands, Texas-based Anadarko, an oil and gas exploration and production company, for the remaining 50 percent in Brazilian Peregrino project and a 25 percent stake in Kaskida discovery in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
Seller financial advisor: Jefferies & Co. and UBS
Bidder financial advisor: Not disclosed
Seller legal advisor: Fulbright and Jaworski
Bidder legal advisor: Vinson & Elkins

JBS SA to buy Smithfield Beef Group from Continental Grain Co. and Smithfield Foods Inc. for $565 million

JBS, a Sao Paulo-based processor and retailer of beef, agreed to pay cash to acquire Smithfield Beef, a Green Bay, Wis.-based producer and marketer of beef, from Smithfield, Va.-based Smithfield Foods, a processor and retailer of fresh meats and Continental Grain, a New York City-based agricultural business investor. The deal is expected to close.
Seller financial advisor: Evercore Partners
Bidder financial advisor: JPMorgan
Seller legal advisor: Hunton & Williams, and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison
Bidder legal advisor: Allen & Overy, and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

JBS to buy National Beef Packing LLC from U.S. Premium Beef Ltd. for $541 million

JBS also agreed to pay $465 million in cash and $95 in stock for National Beef Packing, a Kansas City, Kans.-based based processor of meat. The seller is U.S Premium Beef, a marketing company engaged in beef businesses.
Seller financial advisor: Not available
Bidder financial advisor: JPMorgan
Seller legal advisor: Not available
Bidder legal advisor: Greenberg Traurig, and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Cardinal Health Inc. to buy Enturia Inc. for $490 million

Dublin, Ohio-based healthcare products and services provider Cardinal agreed to acquire Enturia, a Leawood, Kans.-based manufacturer of infection prevention products, in a deal that includes Enturia’s infection prevention products sold under the ChloraPrep brand name. The transaction is expected to close within 60 days.
Seller financial advisor: Not available
Bidder financial advisor: Not disclosed
Seller legal advisor: Polsinelli Shalton Flanigan Suelthaus
Bidder legal advisor: Not disclosed

Cerberus NCB Acquisition LP to buy 8 percent of Aozora Bank Limited for $416 million

Cerberus NCB, the Japanese investment arm of New York City-based private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, launched a tender offer for a maximum 8-percent stake in Tokyo-based Aozora at $3.15 a share, representing a 15.2-percent premium.
Seller financial advisor: Morgan Stanley
Bidder financial advisor: Nikko Citigroup
Seller legal advisor: Davis Polk & Wardwell; and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
Bidder legal advisor: Not available

Plains Exploration & Production Co. to buy oil and gas properties covering 34,509 net acres in South Texas for $335 million

Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production, engaged in acquiring, exploiting, developing, and producing oil and gas, agreed to acquire the Texas oil and gas producing properties from a private company that was not named. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2008.
Seller financial advisor: Not disclosed
Bidder financial advisor: Jefferies & Company; and Jefferies Randall & Dewey
Seller legal advisor: Not disclosed
Bidder legal advisor: Not disclosed

Vivartia SA to buy Nonni’s Food Co. from Wind Point Partners Inc. for $320 million

Athens-based Vivartia, which operates in dairy products, frozen foods, and the food-ingredients industries, is a portfolio company of Marfin Investment Group Holdings S.A, an Athens private equity investments firm. It agreed to acquire Tulsa-based Nonni’s, a manufacturer and supplier of biscotti cookies and other specialty baked good products, from Southfield, Mich.-based private equity concern Wind Point. The transaction is expected to close before April 1.
Seller financial advisor: Not available
Bidder financial advisor: Banc of America Securities
Seller legal advisor: Not available
Bidder legal advisor: Shearman & Sterling

Westcoast Energy Inc. to buy 54 percent of Spectra Energy Income Fund for $277 million

Alberta, Canada-based natural gas company Westcoast, a subsidiary of Houston-based Spectra Energy, a natural gas infrastructure company, agreed to acquire the 54 percent of Spectra it does not already own. The $11.38-a-share price represents a premium of 17 percent. It is expected to close in the second quarter.
Seller financial advisor: RBC Capital Markets
Bidder financial advisor: TD Securities
Seller legal advisor: Burnet Duckworth & Palmer; and McCarthy Tetrault
Bidder legal advisor: Not available

UGI Utilities to buy Penn Fuel Propane LLC and PPL Gas Utilities Corp. from PPL Corp. for $268 million

Hanover, Pa.-based UGI, natural gas and electric utility, agreed to pay PPL Corp. for Lancaster, Pa.-based PPL Gas Utilities, a natural gas company, and Penn Fuel Propane, in a deal expected to close at the end of 2008.
Seller financial advisor: Lehman Brothers
Bidder financial advisor: Internal
Seller legal advisor: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Bidder legal advisor: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Hyde Park Acquisition Corp. to buy Essex Crane Rental Corp. from Kirtland Capital Partners LP for $210 million

The Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based management of Essex Crane, a provider of high lift capacity crawler cranes, agreed to buy out the company, backed by New York City-based Hyde Park, which handles mergers, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, or other business objectives, together with Chicago-based financial institution Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc. The seller is Kirtland Capital Partners LP, the Beachwood, Ohio-based privately funded investment group investing in manufacturing and distribution sectors.
Seller financial advisor: Houlihan Lokey
Bidder financial advisor: Macquarie Bank
Seller legal advisor: Jones Day
Bidder legal advisor: Katten Muchin Rosenman

source: mergermarket

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