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Gilt City Strikes Deals -- Deals to Watch (Update 1)

According to court papers, Syms plans to liquidate its clothes inventory in a 'going-out of-business' sale prior to Black Friday on November 25th.

According to the filing, Syms will liquidate its stores through January 2012 and is asking for the courts to allow Cushman & Wakefield to sell its near $100 million in real estate assets. Gilt City, the urban retail arm of Gilt Groupe today said it is acquiring assets of the daily deal site BuyWithMe in a push to bolster its sales of women's, men's and children's apparel and accessories, home d├ęcor, travel experiences and gourmet food and wine.

According to a press release announcing the deal, BuyWithMe sells local fashion, home and travel retail to over a million customers in services in thirteen markets around the country. For Gilt Groupe founded in 2007 by Ryan, who previously was a pioneer at DoubleClick the BuyWithMe purchase by Gilt City bolsters its planned expansion from operations in ten markets over the next 12 months. Details about the price of the buyout weren't announced.

"This purchase demonstrates Gilt Groupe's commitment to making Gilt City a top player in the local- services industry," said Kevin Ryan, CEO and Founder of Gilt Groupe in a press release announcing the deal. He added, "BuyWithMe complements our philosophy of providing premium offers to customers at great prices. We are excited to capitalize on this incredible opportunity to grow our lifestyle positioning."

In February, Gilt's founder Ryan said to the New York Times that the company was considering a 2012 IPO. The comments came after Nordstrom's (JWN) bought online fashion deals site HauteLook for $180 milllion in in stock, potentially increasing Gilt's competition.

In May, Gilt raised $138 million in a private fundraising from investors like Goldman Sachs (GS), Softbank and New Enterprise Associates, which valued the company at over $1 billion.

After completing its $3.5 billion sale of Eagle Ford drilling and production assets to Marathon Oil (MRO) Tuesday, KKR (KKR) is reported by Bloomberg to be considering a $5 billion takeover of privately held shale driller Samson Investment.

If rumors prove to be true, it would be KKR's biggest private equity deal since the financial crisis.

For KKR, which became a Wall Street buyout legend in the 1980s for its $25 billion takeover of RJR Nabisco, it would be a further push to shale drilling, and in particular into the Bakken shale in North Dakota and Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania. Its previous Hilcorp investment focused on oil & gas shale in 141 acres of the Eagle Ford in East Texas.

A Samson takeover from the ownership of Charles Schusterman, who founded the company in 1971 would signal that the shale oil and gas M&A boom still has legs. This year, Australian energy and commodities giant BHP (BHP) bought Petrohawk Energy for $12.1 billion and more recently Norway's Statoil took over of Brigham Exploration (BEXP) for $4.4 billion.

Late Tuesday after Marathon Oil reported earnings, Bloomberg reported that as part of the company's announced up to $3 billlion plan for oil asset sales, the company may be in talks to sell $800 million of its Angolan offshore operations to China Petrochemical Corp and other Asian buyers according to two people with knowledge of the process. Reports Wednesday also indicated that Marathon may look to sell 30% of a joint venture in its Gulf of Mexico deepwater assets for $1 billion to Asian buyers.

Currently Marathon has a 10% interest in a key deepwater drilling asset offshore of Angola called Block 32, which Total (TOT) has a 30% interest and the Angolan state owned oil company Sonangol has a 20% interest. The size of the sale signals just how valuable oil players consider drilling prospects to be offshore of Angola. Many see a geologic similarity with offshore basins off Angola to those in Brazil that in 2007 and 2008 that yielded the biggest oil finds in the Western Hemisphere in a generation.

In 2009, Chinese oil companies Sinopec (SHI) and CNOOC (CEO) bought a 20% stake in Block 32 from Marathon for $1.3 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Stock quotes in this article: SYMS, GS, JWN, KKR, BHP, BEXP, MRO, SHI, CEO, E, TOT 

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