Merger Monday returns as Siemens, Speedway lead US$40bil haul


  • Corporate News
  • Wednesday, 05 Aug 2020

The flow of deals started over the weekend, when Siemens Healthineers AG clinched a US$16bil takeover of Varian Medical Systems Inc, gaining technology used for cancer treatment in the year’s biggest health-care deal.

NEW YORK: Merger Monday came roaring back this week, with a spate of acquisitions from health care to consumer hitting the tape.

The flow of deals started over the weekend, when Siemens Healthineers AG clinched a US$16bil takeover of Varian Medical Systems Inc, gaining technology used for cancer treatment in the year’s biggest health-care deal.

At least US$39.6bil of transactions were announced between Sunday and Monday, marking the fastest start to a week since before the pandemic, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Japanese owner of 7-Eleven then agreed to buy Marathon Petroleum Corp’s Speedway gas-station business for US$21bil to expand in the United States. There was also a smattering of technology deals, with Google agreeing to invest US$450mil in home-security provider ADT Inc.

It’s been nearly five months since things have been this busy, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The last time was in early March, when US$48.7bil of deals were announced at the start of the week, including Aon Plc’s all-stock acquisition of Willis Towers Watson Plc.

“We have seen heightened dialogue from leading companies, particularly in sectors that were least affected by the crisis, to strengthen their strategic position through acquisitions, ” said Guillermo Baygual, co-head of mergers and acquisitions for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at JPMorgan Chase & Co, which was one of the banks that advised Healthineers on the Varian deal. “We expect more activity continuing on this same trend.”

Microsoft Corp also confirmed Sunday it was negotiating the potential acquisition of the operations of the Chinese-owned TikTok video sharing app in several countries including the US. While details haven’t been publicly announced, the deal could have a price tag in the tens of billions of dollars and become the US tech company’s largest-ever acquisition, according to analysts.

Blank-check companies in the US have also continued to unveil acquisitions at a brisk pace. Electric-truck startup Lordstown Motors Corp will gain a Nasdaq listing through a deal with a special-purpose acquisition company announced on Monday. Separately, asset manager GCM Grosvenor said it will go public through a merger with a vehicle sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald LP valuing the business at about US$2bil.

More multibillion-dollar deals are in the works. Nvidia Corp is in advanced talks to acquire Arm Ltd, the chip designer that SoftBank Group Corp bought for US$32bil four years ago, people familiar with the matter said in late July.Over in Japan, Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings Co is leading the race to buy Takeda Pharmaceutical Co’s US$3bil consumer health unit, Bloomberg News reported. A private equity consortium is also weighing a bid for Kansas City Southern that could value the railroad operator at about US$21bil including debt, people familiar with the matter said. — Bloomberg

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