M&A; Around The Globe: BP, Reliance Industries, PCO, ContentGuard, WFC, ISU Stetson-Beemer Insurance
Thursday, September 29, 2021 11:12 AM

As the US stocks trade sharply higher on Thursday after Germany gave the nod to enhance European financial stability facility, and after the better-than-expected economic data buoyed investors, several M&A activities took place around the world. Some notable M&A activities are discussed here.

BP may Sell Europe and North America Assets to India’s Reliance

BP plc (NYSE: BP) is expected to start discussing sale of its assets in Europe and North America to India’s Reliance Industries, in an attempt to deepen its partnership with India’s largest private sector company, the Economic Times reported today, citing BP’s CEO. The company’s chief executive Bob Dudley told the newspaper that BP had announced $25 billion to $30 billion worth of divestments and would continue to manage its portfolio with more asset sales. BP recently acquired a 30 percent stake in 23 oil and gas blocks in India from Reliance earlier this year, in a deal worth $7.2 billion. Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani had said on Wednesday the company's partnership with BP would not be limited to India, but was initially focusing only on opportunities in the country. BP was trading higher by 2.36 percent to $37.29 a share on Thursday.

Pendrell to Acquire Majority Stake in ContentGuard

Mobile satellite service operator Pendrell Corporation (Nasdaq: PCO) said that it subsidiary, Pendrell Technologies LLC, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 90.1 percent of privately-held ContentGuard Holdings, Inc., a leading inventor, developer and licensor of digital rights management (DRM) and related content distribution patents and technologies. After the closing of the transaction, Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) will own the remaining 9.9 percent of ContentGuard and will be entitled to appoint a representative to the ContentGuard board of directors. Company will pay $90.1 million in cash to the current ContentGuard shareholders. ContentGuard was spun out of Xerox PARC in 2000. ContentGuard licenses digital rights management patents. Its license programs provide access to over 260 issued patents and over 160 pending patent applications worldwide. TWX was trading higher by 2.24 percent to $31.47, and PCO was up 11.85 percent to $2.36 on Thursday.

Wells Fargo Acquires ISU Stetson-Beemer Insurance

Wells Fargo & Company’s (NYSE: WFC), wholly owned subsidiary, Wells Fargo Insurance Services, said today that it has acquired ISU Stetson-Beemer Insurance, a commercial property and casualty and employees benefits insurance brokerage and consulting firm based in Reno, Nevada. The acquisition closed on September 1, 2021 and terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “With an excellent reputation, Stetson-Beemer has been a strong insurance brokerage business in Reno and Northern Nevada since 1923,” said Greg Van Ness, regional managing director of Wells Fargo Insurance Services’ Sacramento/Central Valley region. “They will strengthen our growing presence in Nevada and further support Wells Fargo’s commitment to help customers succeed financially by addressing their insurance needs.” Stetson-Beemer provides business and personal insurance programs and services, including property and casualty risk management, employee benefits, workers’ compensation, and personal auto, home, and life insurance. WFC was trading higher by 2.33 percent to $25.02 a share.