Top M&A Deals

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Punch Taverns has knocked rival Whitbread out of the competition for Allied Domecq.At the end of July, Britain's High Court gave its approval to Allied Domecq's plan to sell its 3,500 pubs for $4.4 billion to Punch, which is privately owned. Whitbread had originally offered $3.84 billion for Allied Domecq's retail business, which includes the pubs, liquor stores, and a soft-drinks company. But Punch countered with a higher bid. Whitbread and Punch battled over Allied Domecq for weeks until the court's ruling was handed down.

There's nothing like a rich widow. In the first of what could be several deals, Lloyds has agreed to pay L7 billion ($11 billion) to acquire Scottish Widows, a financial services company. With the acquisition, Lloyd's will move into the number two position in the British life and pension market.The marriage may prove to be a rich one for Lloyds. Scottish Widows owns a 5% stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland. That stake will pass to Lloyds if the acquisition is approved.The company plans to expand further, and there is speculation that it may make a play for the Royal Bank of Scotland. …