Midweek M&A Madness

Here are some potential target ideas, rumored or official, to jumpstart your deal pipeline.

Our sources are various news reports and the Buyouts “Seeking Buyers” list.

For prior lists, see below, and send any additions my way.

Astrotech Corp, which owns and operates spacecraft pre-launch facilities, said it is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, sending its shares up as much as 75 percent. (Reuters)

Publicly traded Baxter International Inc. is seen by some as a likely acquisition target, especially after Abbott Laboratories and Johnson & Johnson boosted their vaccines pipelines. (Dealscape, Barrons, ONN.tv)

Fitness machine maker Nautilus is selling its commercial business unit. (AP)

Ryland Oil Corporation, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based energy company, continues to consider strategic alternatives with its financial advisor and agent, GMP securities, to enhance corporate value. (Press release)

Fortress Investment Group has until March 24, 2010, to regain compliance with the $1.00 per share minimum bid price continued listing requirement. It’s considering strategic alternatives to address the situation.

Halcyon Holdings Group, the owners of the rights to the Terminator movies, has retained FTI Capital Advisors to explore strategic alternatives, which will likely mean a sale of the intellectual property rights.

Zurich Financial Services AG, Switzerland’s largest insurer, is seeking a buyer for the U.K.’s Dunbar Bank, two people familiar with the plan said. (Bloomberg)

Pacific Capital Bankcorp, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based bank holding company, continues to explore strategic alternatives. (Read more)

Times Co. continues to seek buyers for the Boston Globe and a minority stake in the Boston Red Sox.

Mort Zuckerman and Bloomberg LP have each placed bids for BusinessWeek, the magazine reported. (Reuters)

Comcast Corp. is in preliminary talks to take a 20 percent to 50 percent stake in NBC Universal and increase its ownership of the TV shows and movies it distributes to its cable subscribers. (AP, Reuters) This is despite denials from Comcast after a different the version of the story was broken by TheWrapped.com.

Vectrix Corp. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a $5 million offer for its assets, subject to higher bids at an auction the electric scooter company wants to hold next month. (Dow Jones)

French bank Société Générale SA is rumoured to be looking to sell its U.S. asset management subsidiary TCW instead of doing an IPO in the next five years, as the bank had previously announced. (The Deal)

Bankrupt Nortel Networks, in the process of liquidating its assets, announced its GSM and GSM-R units are now on the block. (Bloomberg)

Japan Airlines Co. Ltd. is likely to revisit an idea it has mulled at least twice in the last 10 years: selling its wholly owned hotel subsidiary. (Corporate Dealmaker)

Ukraine’s privatisation agency opened a public auction on Tuesday of the Odessa Port chemical plant despite a presidential decree banning the sale. (Reuters)

And in the not-for-sale category: UBS’s U.S. wealth business is not for sale. (Investment News)

Danone said on Tuesday it was not holding talks with U.S. baby formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition Co and was not seeking any advice on the issue, knocking down a report that had pushed Mead shares as much as 16 percent higher. (Reuters)

See previous Midweek M&A Madness lists here.