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Benzinga's M&A Chatter for Thursday May 10, 2012

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The following are the M&A deals, rumors and chatter circulating on Wall Street for Thursday May 10, 2012:

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Acquires VEBA Service Group

The Deal:
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (NYSE: AJG) announced Thursday the acquisition of VEBA Service Group, LLC headquartered in Spokane, Washington. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. closed at $35.86 on Thursday, a loss of 0.42% on 1.38 times the average daily volume.

Cigna to Acquire Great American Supplemental Benefits Group

The Deal-:
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and American Financial Group (NYSE: AFG) announced Thursday that they have signed a definitive agreement whereby Cigna will acquire Great American Supplemental Benefits Group, one of the largest manufacturers, distributors, and marketers of supplemental health insurance products in the United States.

The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2012 following customary regulatory approval.

American Financial Group closed at $39.42 Thursday, a gain of 0.51% on average volume.

Hearing Chatter of Vringo Putting Itself Up for Sale

The Rumor:
There was vague chatter of Vringo (NASDAQ: VRNG) being for sale, according to sources speaking to Benzinga. Vringo recently regained compliance with NYSE Amex continued listing standards. Mark Cuban disclosed a 7.4% Stake in Vringo on April 13.

A spokesperson for Vringo told Benzinga they were in registration with the SEC and could not comment on the rumor.

Vringo closed at $3.39 Thursday, a 3.42% loss on light volume.

Coty Raises Offer for Avon

The Offer:
Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) received a letter from Coty dated May 9, 2012, increasing their offer to $24.75 per share. Avon's Board of Directors said it will consider the letter and offer in due course.

Coty stated: "We have been disappointed by the current stalemate. As you know, we contacted Avon last week in an effort to break this deadlock. We indicated that we were prepared to engage in non-public discussions and discuss an increase to our proposal of $23.25 if substantiated through a three-week diligence process."

"In our final effort to move forward with discussions, we are revising our proposal to $24.75 subject to due diligence and the other conditions described below. This price represents a premium of over 36% to the original undisturbed closing price on March 6, 2012 before our initial proposal of$22.25 and also represents over $1 billion of incremental value to your shareholders, despite a materially weakened outlook for your business. Given the challenges facing your business, we believe the premium is even higher when considering your potential stock price in the absence of a possible transaction."

Avon Products closed at $20.89 on Thursday, a loss of 3.29% on 5 times the average daily volume.

Facebook Acquisition of Instagram May be Delayed Due to FTC Probe

The Offer:
Facebook's (NASDAQ: FB) proposed $1 billion acquisition of Instagram may be delayed due to a probe by the FTC, according to FT.

A spokesperson for the FTC told Benzinga he could not confirm the investigation. Spokespersons for Facebook and Instagram were not available for comment.

Facebook's IPO is scheduled for May 18.

Posted-In: Long Ideas News Short Ideas Rumors M&A After-Hours Center Movers Trading Ideas


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