Aer Lingus play triggers blame game
Irish budget airline Ryanair's dawn raid on rival Aer Lingus this week has prompted a flurry of political finger-pointing, with the government under fire for its decision to privatize the carrier.
Former state airline Aer Lingus listed on the stock market on Monday after years of tortuous national debate and controversy on the basis that it was the best way to raise the funds needed to secure its future.
Just four days later, Ryanair swooped with a surprise takeover bid valuing Aer Lingus at 1.48 billion euros (US$1.88 billion).
The move horrified the government, which immediately vowed not to sell its 28 percent stake in the carrier, and drew a barrage of "I told you so" from opposition parties.
"This was an incredibly foolish and reckless decision to give up a national asset and effectively put it on the market," Green Party spokesman Eamonn Ryan told parliament.
Crown Castle buy
Cell-phone tower company Crown Castle International Corp. agreed to buy smaller rival Global Signal Inc. for US$4 billion in cash and stock, the companies said yesterday, creating a behemoth with more than 24,000 wireless sites.
Including the assumption of US$1.8 billion in debt, the deal is valued at US$5.8 billion.
Global Signal shareholders will have the choice to receive 1.61 Crown Castle shares or US$55.95 in cash for each share they hold. The total amount of cash consideration is subject to a US$550 million cap. Global Signal's three largest shareholders, holding about 40 percent of its shares, have agreed to vote in favor of the deal.
British aircraft-engine maker Rolls-Royce PLC said yesterday that it is suspending production of engines for the Airbus A380 for around 12 months because of delays in the superjumbo project.
"We informed the employees yesterday," said Martin Brodie, a spokesman for Rolls-Royce.
The company said it will continue development work on the Trent 900 engine for the A380, and said the suspension would not affect earnings guidance for this year.
The company said it expects to deliver no more than 30 of the engines to Airbus this year.
Atlas Copco stake
Engineering company Atlas Copco AB said yesterday it would sell a majority stake in its construction equipment rental business to a pair of U.S.-based private equity firms in a 28 billion kronor (US$3.8 billion) deal.
The Stockholm-based company said it would sell the stake in the unit, which operates under the brand names Prime Energy and RSC Equipment Rental, to Ripplewood Holdings LLC and Oak Hill Capital Management, adding that the cash proceeds would total some 24 billion kronor (US$3.3 billion).
Once the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is complete, Atlas Copco will hold a 14.5 percent minority stake in the business.
Tata on the lookout
NEW DELHI, India
India's Tata Group is scouting for more overseas acquisitions, the company's executive director said yesterday as news reports spread that the conglomerate was looking to buy a leading European steelmaker.
"We are looking for opportunities in all areas where we are present," said S. Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director of Tata Sons, the group's holding company.
The Tata Group, with US$22 billion in annual sales, has interests spanning everything from steel and automobiles to software services and hotels.
Shares of Tata Steel rose 1.2 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange following Gopalakrishnan's comments, which came amid reports that the company was in talks to acquire London-based Corus Group Plc.
Gopalakrishnan declined to comment on Corus.