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Noteworthy expenditures of the week
A marathon six-day auction by Christie's in Hong Kong—spanning everything from Chinese antiquities to contemporary works—raised an estimated $293 million. Star lots included a 500-year-old Ming-era bronze statue of Buddha, which sold for $9 million—more than double its presale estimate. Other highlights were a group of 10 silkscreens of Mao Zedong by Andy Warhol and a collection of canvases by Chinese-born, Paris-based Zao Wou-ki. Both Christie's and Sotheby's (BID) now count Hong Kong as their No. 3 auction center, after London and New York.
Dublin-based Covidien (COV) offered $2.6 billion for ev3, a U.S. maker of angioplasty balloons, stents, and other products used in heart surgery. Covidien, which was spun off from Tyco International (TYC) in 2007, is trying to turn itself into more of a pure-play medical-equipment company.
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) is paying $1.1 billion for 193 discount supermarkets in Britain owned by A.P. Moeller-Maersk. Wal-Mart's Asda Group wants to add to its tally of smaller format outlets as it fights to remain the No. 2 food retailer in the U.K.
In the year's second-biggest oil-and-gas deal, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) is spending $4.7 billion to buy most of East Resources of Warrendale, Pa. The transaction will boost Shell's shale-gas acreage. The Anglo-Dutch oil major has been playing catch-up in this category to rivals such as ExxonMobil (XOM), which inked a $30 billion shale-gas deal in December.
A one-of-a-kind baseball rookie card featuring 21-year-old pitching phenomenon Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals sold for $16,403 in an eBay (EBAY) auction.
Art Samberg, the founder of Pequot Capital Management and a giant in the hedge fund industry, agreed to pay almost $28 million to end a six-year probe by the Securities & Exchange Commission. The SEC was investigating allegations that Samberg and Pequot profited from inside information obtained from a Microsoft (MSFT) employee the firm had agreed to hire. Samberg, who announced last year that he was winding down Pequot, will be barred from the investment-advisory business as part of the settlement.
CBOE Holdings set a price range for its initial public offering that values the Chicago Board Options Exchange at about $2.9 billion. The CBOE, the last major market in the U.S. controlled by its members, aims to raise $339 million from the share sale.
An investor group headed by Simon Fuller, the creator of the Idol TV series franchise, has submitted a $600 million offer for CKX (CKXE), the entertainment company that owns the rights to American Idol, as well as those to Elvis Presley's name and image. American Idol, which just wrapped up its ninth season remains the most-watched prime-time TV program, though its viewership has been declining over the years.