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Weekly M&A Digest - September 8, 2017

John Shipman, Senior Financial Writer | September 08, 2017

A compendium of highlights and observations from the week’s notable M&A news, compiled by Merrill Corporation which facilitates the sharing and disclosure of financial information in transactions such as these. 

United Technologies Cinches Rockwell Collins Deal, Irks Boeing

United Technologies confirmed an agreement to purchase Rockwell Collins for $23 billion in a deal considered as one of the largest in aerospace history. The companies expect to close the transaction by the third quarter of 2018, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

Reports say analysts don’t anticipate regulatory resistance, as the companies supply components for different parts of airplanes. However, aerospace giant Boeing -- which sources parts from the two companies -- doesn’t sound pleased. “Until we receive more details, we are skeptical that it would be in the best interest of – or add value to – our customers and industry,” the company said, adding it would use contract rights or regulatory options “to protect our interests.” It’s worth noting the UTX-COL deal is, in part, a reaction to the pressure that Boeing and rival Airbus have placed on suppliers to lower costs.  

Tronc Buys New York Daily News…for a Dollar 

Tronc (formerly known as the Tribune Publishing) is purchasing the New York Daily News from Mort Zuckerman. The companies didn’t disclose financial details outside of a regulatory filing that indicated the price was a symbolic $1.

The value of the deal is, of course, much greater than a buck as Tronc gets the Daily News’s printing operation in Jersey City, NJ, and a 49.9 percent stake in the land it occupies. The New York City tabloid joins the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, among others, in the Tronc stable of publications. The sale “highlights the continuing struggles of former print powerhouses to adapt to the digital age,” former Daily News editor-in-chief Kevin Convey told NPR.

Schneider Electric to Take Control of Aveva Group

France’s Schneider Electric agreed to take control of Britain’s Aveva Group in a deal that combines the two companies software businesses to boost their scale as they address growing demand driven by manufacturing automation.

Schneider will merge its software operations with Aveva’s and pay more than $710 million for a 60 percent stake in the UK company. BBC business editor Simon Jack notes the enlarged company will have broader industry exposure, combining Aveva’s experience in oil & gas and power with Schneider’s expertise in the chemicals, food and beverage industries. It also gives Aveva a greater reach in North America.

Video-Streaming Device Maker Roku Files for IPO

Roku Inc. officially began the process of going public by filing preliminary documents with the SEC for an IPO as early as this autumn, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The company makes devices and software for streaming video, which have gained in popularity as an increasing number of consumers become “cord cutters,” forsaking traditional cable TV services for less-expensive streaming alternatives. Roku competes with devices made by Apple, Amazon.com and Alphabet, though it has maintained a dominant industry position. Business Insider notes Roku has deep ties with Netflix, which alone accounted for one third of the 6.7 billion hours of streaming video watched by Roku users in the first half of 2017.   

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