Warner Music: Mulling Takeover Bids
Warner Music (WMG), which put itself up for sale in January, has received more than 10 bids, according to people with knowledge of the process. The company originally planned to sell only its music publishing unit, Warner/Chappell, and pursue a merger with EMI, the London-based record company seized in February by Citigroup (C) because it breached debt covenants. Warner is now considering takeover offers for all or part of the company. Sony/ATV Music Publishing (SNE), a venture between Sony, the Michael Jackson estate, and KKR's (KKR) BMG Rights Management, has bid for Warner/Chappell. Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik, a former Warner director, is seeking to acquire most of the company.
Fujifilm: Betting on Health Care
Fujifilm is buying two drug-manufacturing units from Merck (MRK), as it targets growth in the health-care industry to make up for declining sales of cameras and film. According to Nikkei English News, the Tokyo-based company will pay $490 million for the U.S. and U.K. labs, which include facilities for making biological products used in vaccines and drugs. Fujifilm, which plans to triple sales in heath care in the next decade, confirmed the purchases but not the terms of the deal. Fujifilm's photo equipment sales fell 16 percent last fiscal year.
Amazon.com: Battling California Over Sales Taxes
Amazon.com (AMZN) is threatening to sever ties with over 10,000 affiliates in California if the state passes legislation requiring the online retailer to collect sales taxes on items sold to residents. In a letter to state authorities, Amazon's vice-president of global public policy, Paul Misener, said the measure may be unconstitutional and would lead to job losses. California isn't the only state chasing after Amazon. In February the e-tailer said it would close a Texas distribution center after the state demanded $269 million in uncollected sales taxes.
JPMorgan Chase: Grabbing a Piece of Twitter
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has invested in a fund that bought roughly $400 million worth of Twitter shares, valuing the closely held blogging service at roughly $4.5 billion, say three people familiar with the deal. The fund, which has more than $1 billion, is run by Twitter investor Chris Sacca. Founded in 2006, San Francisco-based Twitter has seen its valuation climb along with its popularity. Between September 2009 and December of last year, the Web company's worth nearly quadrupled, from $1 billion to $3.7 billion.
Yoplait: On the Sales Block
General Mills (GIS) and Nestlé are among the leading bidders for a 50 percent stake in Yoplait, which is being sold by Paris-based private equity firm PAI Partners, say four people familiar with the bidding. Both companies have submitted offers valuing the French yogurt maker at about $2.2 billion. Yoplait has a 6 percent share of the world's yogurt market, which has almost doubled in the last five years. There has been speculation that French authorities may intervene to promote a French buyer for Yoplait.
On the Move
— Motion Picture Association of America: Ex-U.S. Senator Chris Dodd is named CEO
— Andreessen Horowitz: Scott Weiss is appointed fourth general partner
— Dior head designer John Galliano is being dismissed