Midweek M&A Madness

As the weather (slowly) warms up, plenty of M&A bankers are hoping the market for deals will as well. We’ve noticed a few more targets coming to market in recent weeks and have compiled a list of some of those we’ve come across. Our sources are various news reports and the Buyouts “Seeking Buyers” list.

Midweek M&A Madness: The following companies (among many, many others) are either formally considering “strategic alternatives,” reported to be on the block, or rumored to be in sale talks.  I can’t be comprehensive, but I can try. Send any additions my way.

Granite City Food & Brewery: The company hired KeyBanc Capital Markets to sell itself in January.

Corus Bankshares is exploring strategic alternatives including a sale. The company has more than $7 billion in assets.

Church’s Chicken: Arcapita put its portfolio company on the block a month ago after an unsuccessful go at it more than a year ago.

Wabash National: BB&T Capital Markets has been retained as the company’s financial advisor to assist in the consideration of various corporate strategic alternatives.

Oriental Brewery: It appears KKR is poised to take that deal for around $1.8 billion.

Essent Milieu: Waste Management Inc. has dropped out of the auction for the Dutch uitlity’s waste management business.

Solvay: Books are due out soon for the Belgian pharmaceutical company.

Rolling Rock: Anheuser is rumored to be considering a divestiture of this brand.

Axys Technologies is seeking a buyer, according to reports.

Firstgold: The California-based miner is considering strategic alternatives. Haywood Securities is advising it.

Hooray Holdings: The Chinese ringtone provider is considering competing bids.

Soapstone Networks: The company is “aggressively pursuing strategic alternatives” with Morgan Stanley as its advisor.*

New Range Resources: The company hired Emerging Equities to review strategic alternatives for the company.

Baltimore Opera Co. is bankrupt and seeking a buyer.

TorreyPines Therapeutics: The company hired Merriman Curham Ford to evaluate strategic alternatives.

Zoom Technologies: The company continues to explore strategic alternatives for its unit, Zoom Telephonics.

ROC Oil: The company said it will consider “strategic alternatives” for its assets. It hadn’t received any takeover approaches.

Cardica Inc: The company is pursuing strategic alternatives with advisory help from Allen & Co.

Poniard Pharmaceuticals: The company is pursuing strategic alternatives for its preclinical research programs and related assets.

BankUnited: The company has put itself for sale. Carlyle, Blackstone and Wilbur Ross are reportedly preparing a bid.

Transatlantic Holdings: The insurance company is selling the 59% of itself that’s owned by AIG.

Qwest Communications: The company is selling its long haul voice and data network business.

Qimonda: The semiconductor maker is selling its North American assets.

Pacific Energy Resources: The bankrupt oil and gas explorer is selling itself.

Chicago Sun Times: No one wants to touch a newspaper with a 10-foot pole, but James Tyree, the CEO of Mesirow Financial, has emerged to possibly invest in the business.

Charlotte Russe, the adolescent clothing retailer, is embroiled in an activist shareholder battle with new buyout fund KarpReilly, a firm whose takeover offer was rejected.

Lime Energy Co.: The company hired William Blair to sell its energy technology division.

Hartford Financial Services Group: Reportedly the firm is looking to sell its property insurance business.

Emulex Corp: The company hired Goldman Sachs to help it analyze its tender offer from Broadcom Corp.

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*The term “aggressively” brought up an amusing question from an investor on Soapstone’s earning call:

Eric Capella – Reservoir Capital

As an analyst for 20 years, I don’t know that I’ve seen the term aggressively explore strategic alternatives in a press release. I was wondering what the message was that you were trying to send with that.

Bill Stuart

Really no message other than the fact that that’s a focus for the company along with the day-to-day running of the business.

Eric Capella – Reservoir Capital

Okay. So, that was it. I just hadn’t seen it, so I was curious what it meant. Thanks.