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Corporate finance: Market round-up

Auna set for LBO record Three consortia of private equity firms are expected to submit bids of around e12 billion for Spanish telecoms operator Auna. If one succeeds, the deal would be Europe's largest-ever leveraged buyout and the biggest globally since KKR bought RJR Nabisco in 1989.

MCI investors on the warpath

Investors representing 28% of MCI shares withheld ballots to re-elect the board at a shareholders annual general meeting, which could allow Qwest to reopen merger talks with the company. Qwest walked away from a two-month bidding war for MCI with Verizon when MCI accepted Verizon's offer worth $8.44 billion. Some MCI shareholders have vented frustration that the board did not accept Qwest's higher offer of $9.74 billion.

E*trade bids for Ameritrade

Online securities broker Ameritrade Holding says it is not for sale to rival E*Trade. E*Trade says its proposal would give Ameritrade shareholders a 47.5% fully diluted stake in the company plus around $1.5 billion in cash.

Hedge funds drive M&A boom

A report on the M&A outlook for 2005 by Standard & Poor's says that private equity firms and hedge funds are now responsible for 13% of global M&A activity, up by two-thirds since 2003.

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