Bayer ups bid to $66 billion to acquire Monsanto, AT&T shopping around for media play
Morning Brief: Following yesterday’s revelation of a hack involving drug testing records of US Olympic athletes, comes word of more released DNC emails
The mergers and acquisitions market is heating up and giant corporations look make sure they are the last ones standing after their markets experience consolidation.
The $128 a share deal, up from Bayer’s previous offer of $127.50 a share, is the biggest of the year so far and the largest cash bid on record.
The deal will create a company commanding more than a quarter of the combined world market for seeds and pesticides in the fast-consolidating farm supplies industry.
However, competition authorities are likely to scrutinize the tie-up closely, and some of Bayer’s own shareholders have been highly critical of a takeover plan which they say risks overpaying and neglecting the company’s pharmaceutical business.
The transaction includes a break-fee of $2 billion that Bayer will pay to Monsanto should it fail to get regulatory clearance. Bayer expects the deal to close by the end of 2017.
AT&T is mum about its plans, and declined to comment for this story. But strategically, analysts say it makes sense, and — with cash and cash equivalents of $7.2 billion according to its Q2 earnings —such a decision is well within their capability…
…Buying a media company would essentially be an advertising play. With the amount of data they have on their customers and their habits — including where they are, what they like to watch and what they like to purchase — telecommunications companies are a potential goldmine for advertisers. To become these full-fledged advertising giants, however, they need scale, technology and content to advertise against.
“The odds of a content business building reaching scale is not great,” Franchi said. “Buying your way into it from the AT&T perspective seems to be the most logical path.”
AT&T has already dipped its toes in the market. It bought DirecTV in July 2015, increasing its data on consumers for more accurate advertising targeting. The company has the framework to create a viable advertising technology business through its AT&T Adworks service, Franchi said.
A hacker who American intelligence officials believe has ties to the Russian government made public on Tuesday a second batch of documents suspected of having been stolen from the Democratic National Committee’s computer system, leaving the organization rushing to contain damage or embarrassment less than two months before the presidential election.
The internal documents, which party officials were verifying for authenticity, were distributed at a cybersecurity conference in London…
…Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, blamed Russian espionage for the hack and said that foreign agents were trying to help Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, be elected.
“The D.N.C. is the victim of a crime: an illegal cyberattack by Russian state-sponsored agents who seek to harm the Democratic Party and progressive groups in an effort to influence the presidential election,” Ms. Brazile said in a statement. “There’s one person who stands to benefit from these criminal acts, and that’s Donald Trump.”
If authentic, the documents would represent the latest strike from the mysterious hacker persona that has already roiled the 2016 election with leaks of documents stolen from the DNC and the House Democrat’s campaign arm, the DCCC. Earlier document dumps include the internal communications that forced the resignation of former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz this summer and fueled allegations of party bias against Bernie Sanders.
Most notable among Tuesday’s documents may be the detailed spreadsheets allegedly about DNC fundraising efforts, including lists of DNC donors with names, addresses, emails, phone numbers and other sensitive details.
Numerous security researchers suspect Guccifer 2.0 is a front for Russian intelligence services. Digital forensic investigations of the DNC and DCCC hacks have led cybersecurity firms to blame Moscow-backed hackers for both digital intrusions.
The Obama administration has yet to publicly blame the Kremlin, although officials reportedly have “high confidence” that Moscow was involved. Russian President Vladimir Putin flatly denies any involvement.