Magazine

Bid & Ask


Noteworthy expenditures of the week

Finance: $19.2bn

Amount Agricultural Bank of China raised in an initial public offering on the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges. If an overallotment option is exercised, the much anticipated IPO by China's largest lender could become the biggest on record, surpassing the $21.9 billion listing in 2006 by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.

Music

An Australian court ruled that the band Men at Work must share royalties from the early '80s hit Down Under with Larrikin Music for using a flute riff from the 1934 song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree. The band will pay 5 percent of what it has collected since 2002 and of future earnings.

Food

Singapore's Wilmar International beat out China's Bright Food Group for control of the Australian company that is the world's second-largest exporter of raw sugar. Wilmar offered $1.5 billion for Sucrogen, a unit of Sydney-based CSR.The deal will give Wilmar, a leading exporter of palm oil, a roughly 4 percent share of the global sugar trade.

Info Tech

Google (GOOG) agreed to buy ITA Software for $700 million. Cambridge (Mass.)-based ITA supplies flight- information software to Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) and Microsoft. (MSFT) The acquisition should position the Internet search giant to grab a bigger share of the online travel market, which in the U.S. generated more than $88 billion in sales last year.

Collectibles

A lock of hair snipped from Napoleon Bonaparte's head a day after his death in 1821 sold for $13,000 at auction in New Zealand. The imperial memento mori was purchased by an unnamed collector in London.

Real Estate

Indicted financier R. Allen Stanford's Houston headquarters building sold for $12.5 million after an auction failed to attract competing bids. The 186,000-square-foot office tower is outfitted with mahogany paneling, marble floors, open stairwells with custom brass railings, a theater, and a private entrance through the black marble bathroom of Stanford's executive suite. The buyer: Houston real estate investor Dirk Laukien, who agreed to pay cash for the property.

Art Market

Two paintings from the collection of Princess Diana's family raised $21.5 million at an Old Masters auction organized by Christie's. Peter Paul Rubens' panel painting, A Commander Being Armed for Battle, sold for $7.8 million with fees, near the low end of its estimate. The work had been in the Spencer family for more than 200 years.

Commodities: $757mn

The sum Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) is paying for the West Virginia coal operations of INR Energy. Cliffs is North America's largest producer of iron ore. The deal will give the Cleveland-based company access to another key ingredient in steelmaking: coking coal.

Health Care

India's Fortis Healthcare has offered $2.3 billion for the 74.7 percent of Singapore's Parkway Holdings it doesn't already own. The bid by India's No. 2 hospital operator tops an earlier offer from Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund. Fortis is intent on gaining control of Parkway, which runs 16 hospitals in Asia, a region where health-care spending is rising by as much as 17 percent annually. A bidding war could ensue.

Lindblad is an associate news editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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