M&A; Around the Globe: BBBB, Providence Equity, VOD, Polkomtel, AAPL, RIM, MSFT
Friday, July 01, 2011 10:35 AM

Wall Street is trading Flat at the Open on Friday as investors await the manufacturing data and auto sales figures for June. As the Market search for direction, several M&A activities took place around the world. Some notable M&A activities are discussed here.

Blackboard to be Acquired by Providence Equity

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) said Friday that it has entered into a definitive agreement under which Providence Equity Partners will acquire Blackboard for $1.64 billion in an all-cash transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, Blackboard's stockholders will receive $45.00 in cash for each share of Blackboard common stock. The transaction represents a 4 percent premium over the closing price of $43.39 per share on Thursday. The process of acquisition between the two companies began in March 2011, when Blackboard's board of directors formed a transaction committee consisting of independent Directors to conduct a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives that included discussions with potential strategic and financial buyers. Providence is the leading global private equity firm focused on media, communications, information services and education investments. The transaction is anticipated to close during the fourth quarter of 2011. Upon closing, Blackboard will become a privately held company, remain headquartered in Washington, DC and continue to be led by its existing senior management team. BBBB was trading up by 1.77 percent to $44.16 on Friday.

Vodafone sells Polkomtel Stake for $1.34 Billion

Vodafone Group Plc (Nasdaq: VOD) said Friday that it has agreed to sell its 24.4 percent stake in Polish telecommunications company Polkomtel to Spartan Capital Holdings SP for $1.34 billion (920 million euros) before tax and transaction costs. The British telecom company continues to sell its assets in operations which it does not control. Spartan Capital is an investment vehicle controlled by Polish businessman Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, and the Vodafone sale is part of an agreement between all the shareholders of Polkomtel to sell their stakes to Spartan Capital. The transaction is subject to Polish competition authority approval and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2011. Vodafone said the sale underpins its strategy to realize value from non-controlled assets, and net proceeds will be used to reduce debt. In April, Vodafone agreed to sell its 44 percent stake in French mobile operator SFR to Vivendi SA for $11.55 billion (7.95 billion euros). Shares of Vodafone lost 1.03 percent to $26.44 in the initial hour of trading on Friday.

Apple, RIM, Microsoft in Group Buying for Nortel’s Patent Portfolio

Nortel said Thursday that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) are part of a winning consortium of six companies buying bankrupt Nortel Network Corp.’s remaining patent portfolio for $4.5 billion. Nortel said that EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Sony corp. (NYSE: SNE). The winning bid requires approval of both U.S. and Canadian courts, which the company will seek a a joint hearing expected to take place on July 11. Nortel said it will work with the winning bidders in an effort to close the sale in the third quarter. The patents are the last major assets to be sold by Nortel Networks, a once-giant Canadian technology company which imploded as the tech bubble burst, and filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2009. Shares of Apple were trading lower by 0.19 percent to $335.03, RIM shares were down 0.49 percent to $28.71 and Microsoft’s shares were trading down by 0.48 percent to $25.88 in Friday.