Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Three Brief Items

1. Genzyme Refocus

The Wall Street Journal yesterday told us that Genzyme is selling one of its non-core units, its genetic-testing business, as part of its effort to "fend off" the takeover efforts of Sanofi-Aventis SA.

Genzyme is apparently trying to rid itself of two other units also, a diagnostics concern (that sells tests and testing supplies) and a pharma intermediaries operation. The proceeds from these sales are supposed to go into a pot whence the company will buy back $2 billion of its stock.

2. Mike Castle

Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) lost a hotly contested primary campaign in yesterday's voting in Delaware. The usual characterization of this race has been that Castle represents the Republican "establishment" while Christine O'Donnell is the Palin-endorsed, tea-partying "insurgent." As my use of scare quotes indicates, I take such characterizations with more than a grain of salt -- and I don't take salt in my tea. Here's a story from Monday from the AP, about the home stretch of that campaign.

What I do know about Mike Castle, though, is that he was half of the team of Capuano and Castle. Together, he and Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) introduced the Hedge Fund Adviser Registration Act of 2009. It didn't become law as such, but it was one important step in the long legislative history that led to Dodd-Frank, the bill that did become law (with Castle's support)in July 2010.

3. Casey's General Stores

The logic behind consolidation in the retail "convenience outlets" market remains strong. The situation with regard to Casey's General Stores remains confusing.

As regular readers of Proxy Partisans may remember, Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Canadian convenience store concern that owns the Circle K brand, bid $36 a share for Casey's in April, and raised that to $36.75 in May. That price valued Casey's at $1.9 million.

Casey's has resisted, and to good effect. On September 1 the bid went up again, to $38.50 per share.

Even since then, there's a new suitor. Casey's has revealed that it is in talks with a white knight, 7-Eleven Inc. They are talking about a $40 a share offer, though so far that is merely vapor.

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