Verizon Communication Inc. has swooped in to scoop up AOL Inc. for $4.4 billion.
In a statement on Tuesday announcing the deal, Verizon cites AOL’s market success in digital content and advertising platforms as reasons behind the purchase. Amping up Verizon’s video content has also been noted as a key component in the combination.
AOL content brands include Huffington Post Media Group, TechCrunch, Engadget and MapQuest, in addition to the company’s long-standing dial-up service, which according to a Time article, hasn’t yet died. The deal is expected to close midyear.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges is advising Verizon on the buy, while Covington & Burling is handling antitrust matters. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz worked on behalf of AOL.
In other M&A news …
Williams/Williams Partners LP
Tulsa, Oklahoma-based natural gas infrastructure company Williams will acquire its master limited partnership Williams Partners—of which Williams currently owns about 60 percent—in an all-stock deal valued at $13.8 billion.
The deal, announced Wednesday, follows a similar move by Kinder Morgan last year, in which it bought all outstanding stock of its master limited partnerships—Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Kinder Morgan Management LLC and El Paso Pipeline Partners LP—for $44 billion. Williams’ acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2015.
Legal Advisers: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher for Williams; and Baker Botts for Williams Partners’ conflicts committee.
Danaher Corp./Pall Corp.
Washington, D.C.-based Danaher plans to purchase Port Washington, New York-based filtration specialist Pall for $13.6 billion. According to Danaher, a technology company focused on the health care and environmental sectors, the transaction is expected to close near the end of the year.
Along with the deal, announced Wednesday, Danaher revealed that it would be separating into two publicly traded companies—science and technology arm Danaher, which will include Pall post-acquisition, and industrial division NewCo.—through a tax-free spinoff.
Legal Advisers: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for Danaher; and Shearman & Sterling for Pall.
Noble Energy Inc./Rosetta Resources Inc.
Noble Energy has agreed to acquire Rosetta for $2.1 billion in an all-stock deal of the Houston-based oil and gas companies, which sibling publication Texas Lawyer named Deal of the Week. Announced Monday, the transaction includes the assumption of $1.8 billion in debt and is expected to close in the third quarter of the year.
As a result of the buy, Noble Energy will gain Rosetta assets in The Eagle Ford and Permian Basin resource plays, both in Texas. Unlike Noble Energy, Rosetta focuses in nontraditional, onshore exploration.
Legal Advisers: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Bracewell & Giuliani for Noble Energy; Latham & Watkins for Rosetta; and Davis Polk & Wardwell for Morgan Stanley as financial adviser to Rosetta.
Owens-Illinois Inc./Vitro S.A.B. de C.V.
Perrysburg, Ohio-based glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois has agreed to acquire Vitro, based in Nuevo León, Mexico, for $2.15 billion. Vitro, which, like Owens-Illinois, targets the food and beverage sector, also specializes in materials and equipment for industrial use.
Clients of Owens-Illinois and Vitro include Corona and Heineken, along with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, with Owens-Illinois primed to pick up popular tequila brand Jose Cuervo, among others serviced by Vitro, according to Reuters. Announced Wednesday, the deal is expected to close within a year.
Legal Advisers: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for Owens-Illinois; and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton for Vitro.
DTZ/Cushman & Wakefield
Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cushman & Wakefield have agreed to a merger, according to a Monday announcement. Italian investment firm Exor SpA, controlled by the Agnelli family, will sell Cushman & Wakefield for $2 billion to DTZ, which is backed by a consortium of investors led by TPG Capital and including PAG Asia Capital and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The combined entity, which will operate under the Cushman & Wakefield name, will manage more than 4 billion square feet globally and is expected to see revenue topping $5.5 billion, according to both companies. DTZ’s executive chairman of the board, Brett White, who will become chairman and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield postmerger, told sibling publication GlobeSt.com that the acquirer and target possess “remarkably complementary skills and reach in different geographies.”
Legal Advisers: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton for the TPG-led consortium; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for Exor; and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy for Cushman & Wakefield.
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets/Crown Castle International Corp.’s CCAL
Houston-based wireless infrastructure provider Crown Castle will offload its Australian subsidiary, CCAL, to a consortium of investors led by MIRA, an asset manager that specializes in infrastructure, for $1.6 billion. The deal, announced Thursday, is expected to close in the second quarter of the year.
According to Crown Castle, it will use proceeds from the CCAL sale to fund its previously announced $1 billion acquisition of Warrington, Pennsylvania-based fiber optics company Sunesys.
Legal Advisers: Norton Rose Fulbright for MIRA; and Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Allen & Overy for Crown Castle.