Morning Take-Out


Nasdaq Said to Weigh Competing Bid for NYSE Euronext Nasdaq, left out of a global merger frenzy among exchanges, is reportedly exploring options that include teaming up with a partner on a rival bid for NYSE Euronext. (DealBook reported last week that Nasdaq and and the Intercontinental Exchange were in talks to team up for a bid.) In the event that it fails to mount a rival bid, Nasdaq is looking to buy another exchange or sell itself to avoid marginalization, The Wall Street Journal said.

Traders who profit from mergers and acquisitions are more convinced than ever that Deutsche Börse’s $9.5 billion takeover of NYSE Euronext will get trumped by a competing offer. The owner of the New York exchange traded as much as 97 cents higher on Tuesday than Deutsche Börse’s offer price — the biggest “negative premium” since the all-stock deal was announced on Feb. 15. REUTERS | WALL STREET JOURNAL | BLOOMBERG NEWS | DEALBOOK

In German Deal, Will Wall Street Rule? A close look at a merger filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission reveals that in the long run, the New York exchange could end up in the driver’s seat, despite Deutsche Börse’s larger market cap. REUTERS | S.E.C. FILING

TMX Chief Warns Canada of Risk in Blocking L.S.E. Deal The head of the TMX Group warned that Canada would risk damaging its free-trade credentials if it blocked the Toronto exchange’s proposed merger with the London Stock Exchange, as Canadian political opposition picked up steam. REUTERS

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Rio Tinto Gets Offer for Talc Unit Rio Tinto said it had received a binding $340 million offer from the industrial materials group Imerys for its talc business. Selling the business is part of Rio’s strategic plan to focus on large-scale assets; the miner has made divestments of more than $11 billion since 2008. REUTERS | PRESS RELEASE

Vattenfall Said to Plan a $4 Billion Sale Vattenfall, one of the largest electricity producers in Europe, has hired investment banks, including Deutsche Bank, to sell businesses worth more than 3 billion euros, Reuters reported.REUTERS

First-Round Bids Come in for Warner Music Among the parties said to have made preliminary bids for part or all of Warner Music are Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, through its BMG Music Rights joint venture with Bertelsmann; the billionaire Len Blavatnik, who already owns around 2 percent of Warner Music; Vivendi’s Universal Music Group; as well as Sony Music Entertainment and Sony’s song publishing joint venture with ATV Publishing. REUTERS | SKY NEWS

More Deals Coming for Mining Merger and acquisition activity in the global mining sector is expected to accelerate in 2011, fueled by strong commodity prices and repaired balance sheets, Ernst & Young said. REUTERS

Strong Start for Energy Deals Merger activity in the energy and power sector is off to its fastest annual start ever, with nearly $94 billion in deals announced in 2011. REUTERS


Ruling May Give a Boost to Boutique Advisory Firms A Delaware judge’s public rebuke of Barclays over conflicts of interest in the sale of Del Monte Foods may become a calling card for boutique advisory firms like Rothschild and Greenhill.BLOOMBERG NEWS

Bright Across the Border Canadian banks, ranked the world’s soundest for three straight years by the World Economic Forum, may report higher first-quarter earnings on rising fees from mortgages and credit cards, and fewer bad loans.BLOOMBERG NEWS

Blankfein Was Against Wide Salary Increases Goldman Sachs’s chairman and chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, warned against raising base salaries on Wall Street less than eight months before his own more than tripled to $2 million.BLOOMBERG NEWS

Citi Accused of Ignoring Signs of Madoff Fraud Citigroup saw several red flags in the dealings of Bernard L. Madoff’s firm years before the multibillion-dollar fraud was exposed in late 2008, the trustee seeking to recover assets for Mr. Madoff’s victims said in a newly unsealed lawsuit. Irving H. Picard’s accusations echo similar charges he has made against JPMorgan Chase. REUTERS


Not a Gold Mine but Close Enough The backers of Molycorp — Resource Capital Funds, Pegasus Capital Advisors and the Traxys Group — paid $80 million to buy the company from Chevron in 2008. Now they are making $2.6 million a day in profit on the rare earth metals that it mines. WALL STREET JOURNAL

A Brighter Day for Fuld? Life seems to be looking up for Richard S. Fuld, the former chief executive of Lehman Brothers. Business has been picking up steam at Mr. Fuld’s firm, Matrix Advisors, and the former Wall Street chieftain has had at least one meeting with financial executives involving a private equity transaction, according to FOXBusiness. FOXBUSINESS | BUSINESS INSIDER

GTCR Raises More Than Expected for 10th Fund GTCR, the Chicago-based private equity firm, has closed its 10th fund in less than eight months, outstripping its $3 billion target with more than $3.25 billion in capital commitments. FORTUNE| PRESS RELEASE

Conexant Gets Stronger Buyout Offer Conexant Systems, which designs semiconductors for audio, modem and video products, said on Monday that a competing bid from Golden Gate Capital to buy the company is higher than one its board approved from Standard Microsystems in January. Golden Gate Capital is offering $2.40 a share in a bid worth $196.3 million. OC REGISTER

Steward Bids for Jackson Health System The Steward Health Care System, which was created after Cerberus Capital Management bought six Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts in November, is making an aggressive effort to expand nationally with a $1.1 billion bid for medical facilities in Florida. BOSTON GLOBE


Hedge Funds’ Most-Wanted List Some of the favorite picks of hedge fund managers at the end of 2010 included Apple, Citigroup, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase and Google, according to Goldman Sachs.

Northwest to Raise New Asia Fund Northwest Investment Management, a company in Hong Kong sold by RAB Capital in 2009, plans to raise $250 million in a year for an Asia-focused stock hedge fund. BLOOMBERG NEWS

Pimco Hires Former Citadel Research Chief The Pacific Investment Management Company has hired Ravi Mattu, a former head of research and strategy for Citadel Securities, as managing director in charge of analytics.BLOOMBERG NEWS

Fortunes of Japan Hedge Fund Industry Set to Turn? After a sharp drop since the industry’s 2006 peak, hedge funds are once again turning their attention to Japan and are set to attract more capital on expectations that a pick-up in M.&A. and share buy-backs there would yield strong returns. REUTERS


Is Archstone Plotting the Biggest Real-Estate I.P.O. Ever? Archstone, the commercial real estate investor that was taken private by Lehman Brothers, Tishman Speyer Properties, Bank of America and Barclays at the height of the buyout boom, appears to be a likely candidate for an initial public this year that could raise as much as $5 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. WALL STREET JOURNAL

Milestone Capital Shelves I.P.O. Plans Milestone Capital has withdrawn its draft prospectus for a proposed initial public offering. Milestone was seeking to raise funds to put toward the initial investment for the company’s infrastructure fund, the purchase of new offices and general corporate purposes. VC CIRCLE | DOW JONES

S.E.C. Investigating Private Share Trade The febrile traffic in shares of unlisted companies like Facebook and Twitter is being watched by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is monitoring possible conflicts of interest, according to The Wall Street Journal. WALL STREET JOURNAL

Viacom Announces Debt Offering Viacom, whose share price has risen more than 50 percent in the last year, said it had sold $500 million in corporate bonds to raise money to buy back some of its higher-interest debt. LOS ANGELES TIMES |PRESS RELEASE


With Eyes on an I.P.O., Fisker is to Start Production After several rounds of delays and price increases, the electric car start-up Fisker said it would begin production next month for the Karma, a luxury plug-in hybrid priced at $95,900.

The company raised $150 million earlier this month at a $600 million valuation, and its backers include the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. Production of the Karma will start March 21, so it looks like the company is on track to begin selling vehicles in March or April.VENTUREBEAT

Ashton Kutcher Bets on SeatGeek The celebrity investor Ashton Kutcher is at it again, using his venture capital fund, A Grade Investments, to pour an undisclosed amount of money into the online ticket search start-up SeatGeek. Mr. Kutcher’s firm has previously invested in companies like Flipboard, Nowmov, Optimizely, Blekko and Quora. VENTUREBEAT


Vivendi Wins Ruling to Narrow $9 Billion U.S. Investor Suit Vivendi, the French media company, has won a big court victory. It said a federal judge’s ruling eliminated more than 80 percent of potential damages in a $9.3 billion lawsuit accusing the firm of misleading shareholders about its finances in connection with a giant merger a decade ago. REUTERS

Former Wall Street Star Struggles for Votes in Peru The presidential hopeful Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had a stellar Wall Street career and is widely seen as qualified to lead Peru, but he is struggling to win over poor voters who view him as a light-skinned outsider. REUTERS

Dubai’s Unfortunate Building Complex Construction sites are buzzing with work across the Persian Gulf sheikdom more than two years after the financial crisis set off a real-estate slump that caused values to fall by more than 60 percent. In the next two years, tens of thousands of new properties will come onto a market where about 40 percent of homes and offices are empty. BLOOMBERG NEWS

Fallen Regimes, Dirty Money and a Swiss Crackdown The Swiss authorities and banks have been quick to go after money laundering as revolution sweeps across the Arab world. Officials in Bern filed 30 reports on accounts tied to the regime of the deposed Tunisian leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, acting more quickly than other countries as ousted leaders and their coteries might be attempting to protect their nest eggs. WALL STREET JOURNAL

Justice Holdings Looking to Put War Chest Into Action William A. Ackman, Martin E. Franklin and the Parisian billionaire Nicolas Berggruen have combined forces to found Justice Holdings, the largest cash-shell investment vehicle ever seen on the British market, and they are now hunting for deals.

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