Monday, 11 July 2016

Betaville now at betaville.co.uk

Betaville has moved! We have a brand new website where we will be posting the latest articles. Please find it here: betaville.co.uk

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Daniel Stewart wields the axe - part 2

A little update about the looming cull at Daniel Stewart.

I hear between 10 and 15 people were let go yesterday from the stockbroker.

And I suspect Daniel Stewart won't be the only broker to be throwing people out over the next few weeks...

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Post Brexit M&A from the WSJ

The venerable Wall Street Journal has just landed a cracking scoop about Mondelez submitting a $23 billion takeover bid for rival Hershey. Hat tip to those hacks who dug up that jackanory. Here is a link to their piece:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/mondelez-makes-takeover-bid-for-hershey-1467297248

Murdoch in first major UK M&A deal post Brexit with £220 million talkSport buy; Sky next?

Perhaps those (I have to include myself here) predicting a slowdown in UK M&A post Brexit spoke too soon.

News Corp - the publishing company controlled by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch - has just announced it is purchasing Talksport-owner Wireless Group for £220 million. Here is a link to the regulatory news service announcement:

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Post Brexit M&A from the FT

If your interested in the prospects for dealmaking post the Brexit referendum this (click on the link below) piece from FT hacks is worth a read (if you pay for a subscription or can sidestep the paywall).

Enjoy: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7eeb15a2-3dea-11e6-8716-a4a71e8140b0.html#axzz4CsoYi2Sd

Daniel Stewart wields the axe

There is more gloomy news from London's small cap stockbroking industry.

I hear Daniel Stewart, which has seen its shares suspended, has this week begun a major cull, possibly about a third of its work force.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Is the tide turning for Odey the Brexiteer? - part 2

It looks like my story from yesterday was bang on the money.

Indeed, just a few hours after I published yesterday morning charming Crispin got on the front foot to go on the record about his recent strong performance in June and also from the result of the referendum.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Is the tide turning for Odey the Brexiteer?

Crispin Odey's flagship European fund has had a tough time in the last year or so after the charismatic fund manager made some pretty bold and contrarian bear calls that haven't quite worked out.

However, yesterday rival hedgies told me the Odey European fund was actually up around 10pc in June 2016 (the final monthly performance won't be published for another couple of weeks).

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Cough up or sell up

Market participants are going to have to stick their hands in their pockets to keep trading companies, indices and currencies over the next few days.

That's because brokers and spread betting firms have begun demanding traders and hedge funds put up more "margin" to cover existing positions during the conclusion of the Bexit referendum, according to well-places sources.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Betaville hits 20 million!

Little old Betaville has hit another milestone - today it reached a total of 20 million page impressions from readers.

It's been great fun breaking stories and cracking jokes. But it's now time to think about taking Betaville to the next level.

Monday, 20 June 2016

That meeting - part 3

Regular readers will remember my piece from a couple of weeks ago about The Times follow up to my original story from last year about who attended a British Bankers Association board meeting on April 2016, 2008 and what was discussed. In case you don't, here are the links:

http://betaville123.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/that-meeting.html

Friday, 17 June 2016

Sanofi said to weigh alternative deals to Medivation; eyes BioMarin Pharmaceutical - sources

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi is working on a back up plan in case it fails to win its $9.3 billion hostile pursuit of US-listed Medivation.

Top sources have told me the French pharmaceutical giant has begun looking at US-based rare disease specialist BioMarin Pharmaceutical as a potential alternative takeover deal after growing frustrated in its pursuit of Medivation, which has so far resisted the French company's advances.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Goldman Sachs tips Sky, Cairn Energy and Zealand Pharma as takeover candidates

I never quite know what to make of a equity research teams' M&A predictions.

Why? Well, investment bank's equity research teams are supposed to have "Chinese walls" but you would have thought it's unlikely a top investment bank would actually let its own equity research analysts predict a deal that its M&A advisory bankers are actually working on.

Portuguese consortium said to still be working on BHS despite closure - part 3

Most of my peers and rivals are down in Westminster live tweeting Sir Philip Green's interview (wind up) by MPs.

But I thought I would take this opportunity to set the record straight. After this morning's post I had a call from a representative of the Soares do Santos family in Portugal, claiming the family is not backing Greg Tufnell's consortium in its attempt to buy BHS. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Portuguese consortium said to still be working on BHS despite closure - part 2

It would appear Mike Ashley isn't the only bidder still trying to get hold of BHS - or parts of it, at least.

Well-placed sources have told me the Portuguese consortium, led by Greg Tufnell (Phil Tufnell's brother) and backed by the dos Santos family, was also contacted by administrators on Sunday about whether it would still be interested in buying BHS.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Chinese said to be in talks with Wirecard about purchasing a 25pc stake; could make move on the whole company - sources - part 2

Wow - I thought yesterday's piece might ruffle a few feathers but I never expected the torrent of angry banter I received throughout the afternoon.

It sort of reminds me of last year's shenanigans when I broke a series of stories about Slater & Gordon interest in purchasing the majority of Quindell. For several months I was on the receiving end of serious abuse, scepticism and denials (from Slater & Gordon itself) but stuck to my guns. And what happened: Slater & Gordon eventually bought Quindell's professional services division for just under £640 million. Here is a link to my final piece in that series:

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Chinese said to be in talks with Wirecard about purchasing a 25pc stake; could make move on the whole company - sources

A mystery Chinese company is in talks with German payment processor outfit Wirecard about a deal to buy a significant stake in the business or even purchase the group outright.

According to well-placed sources, a Chinese telecoms company has been talking to Wirecard, whose current market capitalisation stands at EURO 4.7 billion, for quite some time about a partnership and a potential deal.

Nutmegged on SOBI - part 2

There has been quite a bit of noise around Swedish rare disease specialist SOBI over the last couple of days.

Well, I wouldn't get too carried away. I'm told there is supposed to be an important meeting in the next 24 / 48 hours where a decision will be made on the "situation".

Monday, 6 June 2016

Retail titbits - part 4

Oh look - I see another one of little old Betaville's stories has been confirmed this morning with the announcement that Radley has been sold to Bregal Freshstream, a new (ish) private equity firm.

In case you don't recall, little old Betaville was the first global media outlet to "exclusively reveal" that Bregal Freshstream, which is backed by a wealthy Dutch family, was participating in the Radley auction.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Portuguese consortium said to still be working on BHS despite closure

I'm very sad to read the reports about administrators to BHS failing to secure a rescue deal for the beleaguered store group.

However, I have one well-placed source that says the consortium led by Greg Tufnell, brother of former England cricketeer Phil Tufnell, is still working a plan to buy the chain despite reports administrators are planning to appoint Hilco to liquidate the company's assets.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

That meeting - part 2

Today's business splash in The Times is rather intriguing.

Harry Wilson - City editor at The Times and a former colleague from time at The Daily Telegraph - reveals that Eric Daniels, former chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, was told about Libor rigging at a BBA meeting in 2008.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Back on Tip TV talking about Royal Mail, Pacific Biosciences and Actelion

Loyal readers might have been worried that Tip TV had given me the chop after several weeks without a clip being re-published on little old Betaville.

But fear not - I haven't been on the show because Tip TV have been moving studios. And today my old mucker Moose (aka Nick Batsford) invited me back for a sit down with man-about-town Zak Mir.

RARE Alert: Israeli property giant said to be weighing outright purchase of Atrium European Real Estate Limited - part 2

I have a little update on that piece of RARE on Atrium European Real Estate I stumbled across last week.

In case you don't remember, within the story I wrote last week I noted that eastern European shopping mall operator Atrium was looking at other options should the Gazit Globe deal fall over.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Bank holiday review

Working at a British national newspaper over a bank holiday weekend can be particularly torturous. That's because, typically, there aren't many cracking business stories to be followed over a 72 hour period in which British markets have shut down.

However, this bank holiday weekend has been turned on its head. Hacks over the Financial Times landed an absolute corker yesterday about the Rothschild Investment Trust trying to merge with the Alliance Trust as part of a deal to create a £5 billion investment giant. Hat tip to the trio of intrepid journos by-lined on that tale. Here is the link:

Thursday, 26 May 2016

When "old" becomes new news - part 2

Old deal stories that haven't made into the public domain yet are clearly becoming super fashionable in the mainstream business press.

Today the venerable Financial Times ran a piece about how a mid-level executive at Apple floated the idea of purchasing Time Warner in a meeting with another mid-level executive. Here is the link to the FT piece:

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

RARE Alert: Israeli property giant said to be weighing outright purchase of Atrium European Real Estate Limited

Another piece of random RARE has landed on my desk.

Word is Gazit Globe, the Tel Aviv-based shopping centre giant, is keen on buying out the remainder of Atrium European Real Esate Limited that it doesn't own.

Rob Terry said to be unwilling to back £2 million Imaginatik fundraising

Controversial businessman Rob Terry doesn't plan to participate in Imaginatik's £2 million cash call.

Readers will remember that last week I broke the story about how AIM-listed tiddler Imaginatik was plotting a £2 million fundraising via a placing and open offer.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Quelle Surprise: Argus Media sold in £1 billion deal

Hat tip to Neil Hume over at the Financial Times for landing the final twist in the tale of the sale of Argus Media and congratulations to all the journalists who work at the information service as many will soon become multi-millionaires. Here is the link to Neil's story:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8646d45c-20d1-11e6-aa98-db1e01fabc0c.html#axzz49UVqPBH7

Friday, 20 May 2016

Thursday, 19 May 2016

RARE Alert: Apollo/Casual Dining Group said to be circling the Restaurant Group

Loyal readers will have picked up on my scepticism about the recent Restaurant Group bid rumours in my "Burnt fingers" series. However, perhaps too much time in journalism (over a decade now) can make you too cynical.

So, I'm prepared to air a Restaurant Group takeover tale that I have stumbled across recently as it contains a lot more detail than your standard "private equity" bid rumours that go around the market every couple of weeks.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The curious case of the BHS dealmaker, the Nottingham-based sock maker and the Swiss retailer

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more bizarre, little old Betaville can add another intriguing twist to the BHS saga.

It turns out that Paul Sutton - the dealmaker who reportedly worked on the original sale of BHS to Dominic Chappell's Retail Acquisitions - has been cooking up another multi-million pound takeover deal. In fact, Olly Shah of The Sunday Times already alluded to this potential deal in one of his past scoops on BHS.

Imaginatik said to be working on £2 million equity fundraising - part 2

Great to see another Betaville scoopette confirmed this morning on the UK's regulatory news service.

Here are the links to the confirmations to this morning's jackanory.

Imaginatik said to be working on £2 million equity fundraising

Imaginatik, in which controversial businessman Rob Terry has been re-building a substantial stake, is preparing a £2 million equity fundraising.

City sources told little old Betaville that Finn Cap, Imaginatik's brokers, is working on a plan to raise £1.5 million via a placing and £500,000 via an open offer to investors.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Weekend review

There were a couple of pieces in the Saturday business sections that caught my eye.

In particular, I enjoyed Fletch's interview with Justin King, the former J Sainsbury boss who is now a top bod over at private equity firm Terra Firma. I would provide readers with a link to Fletch's article but The Times has done something weird to its website which means I can't find the link.

Friday, 13 May 2016

AAC Capital said to consider £100 million plus sale of Dunlop Aviation Tyres

The former buy-out arm of ABN Amro is weighing a £100 million plus sale of one of Britain's oldest manufacturing businesses.

City sources said AAC Capital, which used to be part of Dutch bank ABN Amro, asked corporate finance advisers to pitch for a sell side mandate a couple of years ago but up until now the private equity firm has waited for the right moment to begin the sale process.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Boom to bust in just a few months - part 2

Strange - Bloomberg hacks are now arguing the dealmaking boom isn't over. Here is the link:

http://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-05-12/m-a-market-isn-t-dead-yet-if-you-just-look-at-the-data

I'm confused...

Boom to bust in a just a few months

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly things can change in mega cap dealmaking.

Last year, markets witnessed record breaking takeovers - such as Anheuser-Busch Inbev's £75 billion takeover of SAB Miller and Royal Dutch Shell's £40 billion purchase of BG Group - but the first few months of this year has seen M&A activity fall of a cliff, with several major announced deals collapsing altogether.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The imprisoned Libor trader, the property developer and the bank

Tom Hayes, the imprisoned Libor trader, has seen a huge response to his fundraising efforts for his appeal.

So far, according to the website, Hayes has raised £16,890. Here is the link if you want to make a donation.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Retail titbits - part 2

It's pretty quiet in private equity land (thanks to the Brexit referendum) but here's a little update on the Radley auction I wrote about last week.

Piper Private Equity said to be in talks to buy Propercorn stake

It's funny how in dealmaking in certain sectors suddenly becomes fashionable. And this week it's popcorn that is in vogue.

Word on the street is that Propercorn has been working with NM Rothschild on a stake sale and is in talks with Piper Equity Partners about a deal.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Navel gazing

Deal watchers interested in understanding how M&A reporting works might be interested in signing up to an event being held by the Cass Business School's "M&A Research Centre".

The academic institution has lined up the great and the good of M&A reporters past and present to carry out a debate about deal reporting, how this style of journalism has changed in the last few years and how it will change in the future. Here is the link:

Quelle Surprise: Chinese group emerges as stake builder in Imagination Technologies

I see Imagination Technologies has just disclosed that Chinese outfit Tsinghua Unigroup International  has bought a 3pc stake in the chip designer.

Regular readers of little old Betaville should be aware that six months ago I raised the prospect of  mystery Chinese suitor circling Imagination Technologies on Tip TV. In case you don't recall, here are the links:

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sunday review

There weren't many large cap M&A scoops in the Sunday business sections this weekend but I guess that's to be expected in the run up to the Brexit referendum.

One tale, though, that did catch my eye was about Royal Bank of Scotland facing a £400 million claim in The Sunday Telegraph. Here is the link:

Friday, 6 May 2016

Friday Fun - the billionaire entrepreneur, the intrepid hack and, er, Twitter

Is that Benji Martin sitting alongside Sir Richard Branson (see below)?

Well, if it is I take my hat off to the top Telegraph reporter because I have to admit, I can't say I ever got to appear in a public picture with such a powerful business person during my 8-year career on the paper.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Retail titbits

Here are a couple of retail industry snippets I stumbled across whilst galavanting around the City (of London) today looking for stories.

First of, it would appear the sale of handbag maker Radley is progressing, with bids said to have been submitted last week.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Burnt fingers - part 2

Market punters that like to bet on the next takeover deal are likely to be experiencing burnt fingers for the second time in a week.

That's because the outgoing chairman of SOBI, a Sweden-based rare disease drug developer, slotted 8m shares last night, suggesting the company has not been approached by buyer.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Is Odey still bearish or turning bullish - part 2

Ping! An email arrives with the latest Odey Asset Management investor letter.

Whilst the fund's overall performance - down about 31pc since the beginning of the year to the middle of April - made headlines a couple of weeks ago in the venerable Financial Times, I can provide a bit of colour about where the old buffer has taken a hit in his flagship Odey European Fund.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Sunday review; and Mike Ashley to save BHS? - part 2

It's been another tricky weekend for Sir Philip Green. In fact, the boisterous billionaire's reputation took a serious battering in the UK business press throughout the whole of last week following the confirmation of the BHS administration.

What must be particularly galling for Sir Philip is those newspapers that have up until now held back from critiquing the entrepreneur could no longer sit on the sidelines and it pretty much became open season on the pugnacious retailer.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Mounties pension fund said to be sniffing around BBA Aviation - part 2

Readers might be wondering what has happened to the potential bid for London-listed BBA Aviation that I wrote about a couple of months ago.

In case you don't recall, back in early March I revealed that PSP Investments, a pension fund that looks after money for the Canadian mounted police, had been talking to potential partners about launching a bid for BBA Aviation, the aviation services company. Here is the link:

Burnt fingers

Little old Betaville was somewhat wary of the Restaurant Group bid rumours going round the market in recent weeks.

So, I purposefully decided against airing the gossip on little old Betaville or elsewhere and now I'm rather glad that I didn't as the company has just issued another profit warning, sending the stock 20pc lower this morning.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Capital and Counties said to be close to £300 million Olympia deal

Here's a snippet on London-listed property company Capital and Counties.

I'm have been told by reliable sources that the FTSE 250-listed company is close to selling its exhibitions centre in Olympia.

Quelle Surprise: Sanofi makes $9 billion hostile approach for Medivation

There is some big news out this morning in the pharma/biotech world.

French drugmaker Sanofi has finally confirmed it's interest in purchasing US biotech Medivation - the Medivation takeover rumours were first aired on Tip TV a couple of months ago. Here is the link:

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

More Chinese whispers

Dom Walsh's piece on the Tui Hotelbeds auction caught my eye this morning.

Dom - the City's top leisure reporter over at The Times who knows his sector back to front - reports that the final round bidders for Hotelbeds are Cinven, Kuoni/EQT and a mystery Chinese bidder based in Shenzhen, China. Cinven is said to be leading the pack of bidders, according to an earlier Bloomberg report.

Rob Terry said to up stake in Imaginatik; may try to get to 29pc, oust chairman or eventually bid

Rob Terry is boosting his stake in Imaginatik, the AIM-listed "full service innovation company" (whatever that means).

For readers that don't recall, I revealed a few weeks ago that the controversial businessman and founder of Quindell started to re-build a stake, via his vehicle Quob Park Estate vehicle, in Imaginatik. Here is the link:

Monday, 25 April 2016

Back on Tip TV talking about Sports Direct, Actelion and Swedish Orphan

It's a Monday, so here is a link to today's Tip TV session.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy4EamEaJOI

Flag pole alert - part 8

Deal watchers looking for the next big FTSE 100 deal should read Ian King's excellent column in today's The Times.

According to the Sky News business supremo, high-level investment bankers have told the former The Times business editor that the next FTSE 100 takeover bid could be carried out by a Chinese bidder.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Sunday review; and Mike Ashley to save BHS?

Olly Shah, of The Sunday Times, and Neil Craven, of the Mail on Sunday, appear to be leading the coverage on this weekend's major business story - the potential collapse of department store chain BHS.

Here are links to their pieces:

Friday, 22 April 2016

Another non-denial, denial - part 2

And now the heavyweight wire services are battling it among themselves with non-denial, denial stories.

Yesterday Bloomberg revealed that:

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Another non-denial, denial

Today's wire reports out of Switzerland made me chuckle.

Apparently, Jean-Paul Clozel, chief executive of Actelion, told Reuters that "there's been absolutely no offer" to takeover the company.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Lenders to M6 appoint UBS to run sale process; teasers out

I turned up a little titbit on the M6 toll road situation whilst on the rounds today.

The banks that took control of M6 signalled a couple a months ago they are plotting a sale of the business after taking control of the motorway from Aussie infrastructure fund Macquarie. Here are links to a Financial Times article and BBC piece on the topic.

Sandwiches

I see Pret a Manger - the up-market sandwich shop favoured by young bankers, hedge fund analysts and lawyers - has been basking in the glory of another set of strong results, with a significant amount of press coverage today. Here a few links:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1f48d7a6-0613-11e6-9b51-0fb5e65703ce.html#axzz46NTfCqyl

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/19/pret-a-manger-sales-rise-as-vegetarian-range-
pleases-foodies

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Exxon Mobil said to have abandoned £70 billion BP takeover deal - part 2

Wow - these "old" or "stale" deal stories are becoming quite fashionable.

Reuters has just unveiled an "exclusive" scoop revealing ChemChina made a multi-billion takeover approach for BG Group, which has just been bought by Royal Dutch Shell. Here is the link:

Monday, 18 April 2016

Back on Tip TV talking about BP, Medivation and Actelion

I hadn't been on Tip TV for a while and was starting to wonder whether Moose, the owner of the channel, had got fed up with me.

Last week, though, I got the call inviting me on the show today, so here is the link:

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Exxon Mobil said to have abandoned £70 billion BP takeover deal

Kleinman, of Sky News, today published a rather intriguing story about a £6 billion takeover bid for J Sainsbury that has just been "abandoned". The thing is, the market never knew about this takeover bid in the first place.

Still, Kleinman's story is extremely detailed. If you haven't read it, click on the link below:

Friday, 15 April 2016

Another day, another HNA deal...

The Chinese travel conglomerate really does have a voracious appetite for deals involving any European travel-related companies.

Earlier this week, HNA unveiled a $1.5 billion takeover of Switzerland's airline catering company Gate Gourmet. That deal comes after HNA purchased baggage handler Swissport last year for £2.3 billion.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

An economics scoop

The times they are a changin in the high-flying world of British economics journalism.

When I was young M&A reporter on The Daily Telegraph landing fact-based deal scoops I always used to wonder why economics journalists didn't attempt to do carry out a similar style of reporting.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Argus Media Group appoints bankers to carry out sale of up to £1 billion - part 6

This is a bit of a wrinkle on a wrinkle but since little old Betaville broke the Argus Media Group sale story late last year I thought it might be worth airing the wrinkle here.

There have been a few reports since I "revealed" a couple of weeks ago that Argus Media's advisers were narrowing the field of bidders to three or four for the final round.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Quelle Surprise: Rob Terry confirms he is rebuilding stake in Imaginatik

Oh look - I see my Rob Terry's outfit Quob Park Estate put a statement out last night after the market closed. The statement says his outfit now owns just over 5pc of Imaginatik, effectively confirming my tale from earlier in the week.

Here are links to the statement and my market report piece:

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Canaccord Genuity wields the axe - part 3

It's tough times for the chaps in pin stripe suits at stockbroker Canaccord Genuity.

According to my mole, the Canadian broker - which is de-listing from the London Stock Exchange - has placed a blanket ban on silver service dining at its smart, wood-panelled dining rooms and restricted client lunches to sandwiches.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Multitasking

Clearly, the Panama Papers was one of the biggest stories around yesterday.

But I also note that Britain's Serious Fraud Office was getting a lot of attention from several publications, such as City AM. 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Weekend review on a Monday

My old mucker from my Telegraph days, James - "Quinny" - Quinn, had one of the best deal stories of the weekend after securing an on-the-record interview with Xavier Rolet, the boss of the London Stock Exchange.

Here is a link to Quinny's tale in the Sunday Telegraph about how the American exchanges would "slash and burn" the LSE:

Saturday, 2 April 2016

2016's top Fool

Take a bow City AM for the best business April Fools story of 2016.

Yesterday, City AM (the London-based business free sheet) ran a story billed as an "exclusive" about how the "City of London of Corporation was drawing up plans to declare the financial district an independent city-state in the event of Britain voting to leave the European Union". Here is the link:

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Quelle Surprise: Reuters reports £1 billion Argus Media Group sale is in the final stages

This story - http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-argusmedia-sale-idUKKCN0WX1WH - broke on Reuters this afternoon.

It pretty much regurgitates what I wrote earlier in the week but adds a couple more names to the final shortlist of bidders for Argus Media Group, the oil price information provider.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Back on Tip TV talking about Whitbread, LSE and Actelion - part 2

There were a flurry of stories this evening about US pharmaceutical company Medivation hiring JP Morgan to field takeover offers.

From a quick glance at Twitter it appeared that BloombergReuters and CNBC in the US
were claiming to have the "sources familiar with the matter" backing the story up. So, Medivation's shares were sharply up in the aftermarket.

Top of the market of the (London housing) market? - part 7

Friends, readers and contacts who know me well know that I called the London property market right in 2007 (the last top) but ever since then I have called it wrong - as in, I still don't own a London residential property/house/flat.

So, for good reasons I have deliberately avoided prognosticating on what might happen with the London property market.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Argus Media Group appoints bankers to carry out sale of up to £1 billion - part 5

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days - I have been very busy scoffing chocolate over the long weekend.

Anyway, I'm back on the case this week and before I get round to breaking another earth shattering "exclusive" I thought I would share with loyal readers a little bit of gossip about the Argus Media Group sale.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

That "own goal" gaffe

Much of the mainstream business press dubbed Mike Ashley's comments to The Times earlier this week as an "own goal" by the maverick entrepreneur and owner of Newcastle United (I'm pretty sure I saw at least two headlines containing "own goal").

That's because Sports Direct's shares tanked about 10pc (they are down another 3pc today) after Ashley spilled the beans to the intrepid hackette at The Times about a potential profit warning.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Confirmations, confirmations and confirmations for, er, little old Betaville

I see Watkin Jones has this morning issued a statement about its listing on AIM, which saw the Welsh property developer raise £131 million.

Here is a link to today's statement:

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Apple in/out talks with Imagination Technologies

Hat tip to Ars Technica, the tech blog, for breaking the news about Apple's interest in purchasing Imagination Technologies, which sent the shares up 18pc during this morning's trading session.

Ars Technica broke the story 10 hours ago - http://arstechnica.co.uk/gadgets/2016/03/apple-acquire-imagination-powervr-gpu/ - but the buffers round at Takeover Panel have taken almost all of the UK trading day to get Apple to make a statement about its intentions for chip designer Imagination Technologies.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Watkin Jones to hit London's public market soon...

It sounds like the Welsh student accommodation developer's initial public offering is set for lift off.

Watkin Jones announced its intention to float earlier this month -

Back on Tip TV talking about Whitbread, LSE and Actelion

Old Harrovian Zak was in the chair today, quizzing me about the weekend M&A stories and recent bid gossip. So, here is a link to today's Tip TV clip:

http://www.tiptv.co.uk/finance/ma-update-whitbread-breakup-back-on-the-cards-monsanto-one-to-watch/

Friday, 18 March 2016

Equity "research" on, er, little old Betaville

I see JP Morgan has decided to dedicate a piece of equity "research" to little old Betaville and the stories I have published following my tale from earlier in the week on Mead Johnson.

Whilst I'm flattered that I have caught the attention of one of the world's most powerful investment banks, I have to say the analysts' "research" about me and my stories is somewhat piss poor.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

The acerbic commentator, the SFO and lingering investigations

The Serious Fraud Office took a bit of pasting yesterday in the British business press following it's move to close its criminal investigation into the $5 trillion-a-day global currency markets after two years of investigation.

Among the business commentariat, Alistair Osborne - a former boss and colleague during my time at The Daily Telegraph but now at the The Times - was being particularly acerbic towards the SFO, dubbing it the "seriously flawed office". Here is a link to Alistair's caustic column, which also raises some important points:

High Court sets aside default judgement obtained against Ryan Corp; claim expected to proceed before court, according to The Times

There is a good follow up in the The Times today about the Saudi Arabian diplomat who is suing Credit Suisse and Tom Ryan, the mystery Irish property developer, for the return of a £25 million investment in Hertsmere House, the scheme to develop a residential skyscraper in Canary Wharf.

Here is a link to the piece in The Times:

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Praag-matic

Here's a curiosity - a quick look at the LSE / Deutsche Borse merger announcement shows that Lucas Van Praag has landed a rather juicy mandate as a PR advisor to the LSE on the £20 billion plus exchange tie-up.

I remember the ultra smooth Van Praag from the days when he was a chief spinmeister at Goldman Sachs. He had a tough job, especially after Rolling Stone magazine dubbed the investment bank as a giant "vampire squid". He would also frustrate some of my ex-colleagues something rotten. Nowadays, though, it would appear he runs a New York-based PR firm called Fitzroy Communications.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Mead Johnson said to be working with Lazard following takeover interest from European food giants

The Mead Johnson bid tale is back.

Readers who follow Mead Johnson Nutrition, the US-listed baby formula manufacturer, might have grown somewhat weary - and possibly sceptical - about this particular takeover bid story. That's because the tale goes around the market every couple of years but is either denied or just fades away with little activity to back it up.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Egg on face for Dragons as Tangle Teezer appoints Baird to handle multi-million pound takeover approaches

Sometimes in the world of business knock backs only strengthen your resolve to succeed.

That appears to be the case for Shaun Pulfrey, a former hairdresser. Back in 2007, he went onto to the Dragons' Den (the hit BBC TV programme) seeking £80,000 for a 15pc stake in Tangle Teezer, which makes hairbrushes to comb through knotted hair.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Mr Nobody

So, rival hacks and news organisations are mocking the FT's Burberry scoop on the Twittersphere following this morning's news from HSBC. Burberry shares are down about 7pc after the bank released a statement to the market that implies it's not holding a stake on behalf of a mystery investor looking to make a takeover bid. Here is the link:

http://www.investegate.co.uk/burberry-group-plc--brby-/rns/holding-s--in-company/201603041054170987R/

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Some Burberry clues...

Hat tip to the Financial Times. The newspaper broke a great story yesterday evening about Burberry hiring Robey Warshaw to defend the company after a mystery investor built up a stake in the clothing brand via HSBC. 

Here is the link:

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Sunday review: an old mega deal rears its head again; and from predator to prey continues...

M&A stories are a bit like London buses. You wait around at the bus stop for one to arrive, it never comes but when it does another two buses arrive straight afterwards.

And so it's the case for The Sunday Telegraph, whose business section was plastered with deal scoops today following a few lean weeks.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

An aspiring stockbroker hires...

Here is a rare piece of upbeat news for the City of London's stockbroking industry - I understand Zeus Capital has just hired Rob Collins as head of natural resources.

Zeus Capital advises on IPOs, private fundraising and other types of deals but has been looking to become a full service stockbroker by hiring staff and buying a rival with a market making capability.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Mounties pension fund said to be sniffing around BBA Aviation - part 2

A rather nice person familiar with the matter has been in touch to point out that BBA Aviation's shares are only down about 20pc over the last twelve months if you take in the account the 6 for 5 rights issue that took place last September/October. Happy to set the record straight.

Here are the details of the rights issue:

http://www.investegate.co.uk/bba-aviation-plc--bba-/rns/announcement-re--rights-issue/201510120814479213B/

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Mounties pension fund said to be sniffing around BBA Aviation

PSP Investments has been circling BBA Aviation.

Good sources tell me PSP, a massive Canadian pension fund that looks after money for the Canadian mounted police, is in the early stages of examining a purchase of BBA Aviation.

From predator to prey... - part 2

So, loyal readers have got in touch following yesterday's item regarding the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's interest in buying Deutsche Borse to point out that there are clear, hard news reports about the former's interest in purchasing the latter.

Here is a link to what looks like a very well sourced Bloomberg piece from 2013:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-02-25/cme-said-to-approach-deutsche-boerse-for-merger-talks

Perhaps those people involved in the situation are on the money after all...?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

From predator to prey...

Most of today's coverage of ICE's confirmation of interest in the LSE focussed on how the owner of the New York Stock Exchange and rival Chicago Mercantile Exchange are weighing making counter offers for the London-listed company.

However, tucked away in the The Times splash is a line about how the Chicago Mercantile Exchange might go after Deutsche Borse, which is essentially trying to buy the LSE, instead of the UK exchange - yikes! Here is the link:

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Times diary predicts Dobson to retire from Schroders; Helge Lund to BP next?

I seem to praising lots of rival journalists today - but credit where credit is due.

This time, The Times diary section, that day edited by Patrick Hosking, deserves to take a bow after suggesting in early February Michael Dobson, the veteran Schroders chief executive, was considering stepping down.

Tesco for Home Retail Group, according to The Times and the Financial Times

Tucked away at the back of the The Times market report is a surprising snippet on the Home Retail Group takeover situation.

According to The Times market report, Tesco - yes, Tesco - was sold off yesterday amid fears it's "putting in a rival bid" for Home Retail Group. Here is a link to the excellent report, written by Tom Knowles:

Quelle Surprise: ICE weighs counter bid for LSE

Bloomberg landed a good hit last night, revealing the ICE is working with Morgan Stanley on a counter offer for the LSE. Here is the link:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-29/ice-said-to-explore-rival-bid-for-lse-to-thwart-deutsche-boerse

Monday, 29 February 2016

Back on Tip TV talking about LSE, Weir Group and Kering

Apologies in advance for the terrible audio during today's Tip TV session. But here is a link to today's session with Zak:

http://www.tiptv.co.uk/finance/ma-update-counter-bid-likely-in-deutsche-boerses-lse-takeover/

Bears tuck into Avanti but ... - part 2

Avanti Communications, the small cap satellite operator, has seen its shares open up over 6pc this morning.

That's because, according to one my moles, one of the major shareholders in Avanti - Scottish Widows/Aberdeen Asset Management - is thought to have "recalled" 1.6 million shares that have been lent out to traders who have taken short positions in the stock.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Saturday review

There were plenty of interesting nuggets in the today's business sections.

First off, Bryce Elder over at the Financial Times picked up on yesterday's speculation about Flowserve in his market report although reading between the lines of his perfect prose the suggestion is that Flowserve could be just as interested in IMI (yesterday the talk was about Weir Group). Here is a link to Bryce's market report:

Friday, 26 February 2016

Coincidence? - returns

Here's an interesting snippet - Flowserve, the US pump manufacturer, yesterday abruptly cancelled plans to present at Gabelli's 26th Annual Pump, Valve and Water Systems Symposium in New York.

"Due to weather-related travel complications, Karyn Ovelmen, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will not be able to present as previously planned," said Flowserve in a brief statement. Here is the link to the statement:

Is there a row brewing over £2 billion London City Airport sale?

Perhaps I spoke (wrote?) too soon.

According to Kleinman of Sky News, HNA submitted a higher for London City Airport - see below.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Panmure Gordon shenanigans

So, I was just about to publish a story about how Phillip Wale, chief executive of Panmure Gordon, has held talks with rival brokers about merging when the company stuck this statement out:

http://www.investegate.co.uk/panmure-gord---38-co-plc--pmr-/rns/board-change-and-shareholder-financing/201602240717509726P/

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Is Odey still bearish or turning bullish?

This time last year, Crispin Odey, the quintessentially British upper class hedge fund manager, hit the headlines when he turned particularly bearish, predicting a global economic downturn that will be "remembered in a hundred years" and leave stock markets facing devastation.

But it appears the charismatic Odey is - potentially - changing his tune. Well, at least with regards to the US economy in the short term.

Robey Warshaw land another big deal

Reuters has just landed a cracking scoop about the LSE getting back into merger talks with Deutsche Borse.

Here is a link to the confirmation release:

Flag pole alert - part 7

Readers might recall the heightened speculation towards the back end of last year about British American Tobacco weighing a £50 billion break up takeover bid for Imperial Tobacco, now called Imperial Brands.

Well, I see Imperial Brands, formerly Imperial Tobacco, has just appointed Barclays as joint corporate broker alongside Credit Suisse.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Revealed: Argus Media Group appoints bankers to carry out sale of up to £1 billion - part 4

Tucked away in the news digest of today's The Sunday Times business section is an item about some of the bidders in the running to purchase Argus Media Group, which has been put up for sale by the founder's family.

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek, and publishers Verisk Analytics, Hearst and IHS are named as potential purchasers that expressed an interest in the commodities news and data provider.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Quelle Surprise: A counterbidder emerges for Home Retail Group

Regular viewers of Tip TV won't be surprised to learn of Steinhoff's 175p a share counter bid for Home Retail Group.

That's because just over 11 days ago I highlighted on the show there were vague rumours doing the rounds about a potential counter offer for Home Retail Group. Here is the link:

Thursday, 18 February 2016

A man and his view...

It's a good to see another one man band provoke a statement from a multi-billion dollar company.

Rob Manalo - a former broker at Jefferies - recently set up shop on his own and today published a note via his newly-established outfit Manolo LLP saying:

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Village gossip - Sandell Asset Management founder said to be planning to move to the UK

Thomas Sandell, the founder of one Europe's original "event driven" investment firms, could be about   to move old Blighty.

City sources told little Betaville that Sandell has indicated to friends and colleagues he is planning to move to London from New York.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Village gossip - top British dealmaker quits Canaccord Genuity for Macquarie

So, I alluded to a major departure from Canaccord Genuity last week and now I have finally bottomed out the tale.

I understand Jacques Callaghan, one of the City of London's leading investment bankers, has left the beleaguered Canadian outfit for Australian investment bank Macquarie.

Friday, 12 February 2016

In The Times today: acerbic Alistair on top form; Helge Lund to head BP

It's a bit late in the day but if you have a copy of the The Times and are planning on having a quiet Friday night in then Alistair's Osborne's business comment column is worth a read. Here is a link if you haven't got a copy:

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/columnists/alistairosborne/article4688797.ece

Canacord Genuity wields the axe - part 2

Canacord Geniuty appears to have tacitly confirmed my tale from earlier in the week.

In case you missed it, the broker/investment bank released dire 3rd quarter results this morning, announcing there would be a major "restructuring" resulting in job losses in the UK and elsewhere.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Another day, another multi-billion pharma deal - the series returns!

I have to admit I was surprised to see US generic drugs giant Mylan return for Nordic group Meda given the market turbulence and general carnage in biotech share prices.

Hat tip, though, to the Financial Times for landing the scoop last night about the $9.9 billion takeover deal.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Canaccord Genuity wields the axe

Here is a tale to add to the doom and gloom that has descended upon financial markets since the beginning of the year.

It would appear there has been a bit of a cull over at Canaccord Genuity, the Canadian stockbroker that has been gobbling up British brokers in the last couple of years.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Top of the market? - part 6

I know I should probably reign in the chest beating but global stock markets are down almost 20pc since last spring's highs, so perhaps my "top of the market" series was useful to readers after all.

And I couldn't help but notice that a company that was taken private at the top of the last bull market (i.e in 2007) is floating just as the stock market (potentially) flirts with its the latest "top".

Dobson to retire from FTSE 100-listed Schroders, according to The Times

It never ceases to amazes me how some of the juiciest City tales end up in the diary.

For example, the lead item in The Times City People diary reveals there is a "whisper" Michael Dobson, the veteran Schroders chief executive, is contemplating retirement and may to step down from the blue-chip, blue-blooded fund manager at the next set of figures.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Mega consortium in trouble?

The "mega" consortium chasing London City Airport might be, well, becoming a bit less "mega".

In case you don't recall, the consortium consists of an unusually large amount of constituents, including Borealis, Ontario's Teachers Pension Fund, AimCo, Hermes and Wren House, Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund. Here is a link to Betaville's original scoop on the "mega" consortium and also HNA's bid:

Thursday, 4 February 2016

HSBC takeaway - part 2

Readers might recall that earlier this week HSBC was quick out of the blocks to boast how it was the "sole" financial advisor to ChemChina on its $43 billion purchase of Sygenta, sending out a release on topic in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Well, it turns out that might not be the case. According to Bloomberg, some chap called Ze'ev Goldberg was never "far from the side" of ChemChina chairman Ren Jianxin during the heated negotiations with Syngenta.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Quelle Surprise: Reuters reports Roche approached Pacific Biosciences about a takeover

Reuters has picked up on another one of my Tip TV stories.

Yesterday, the news agency "broke" the story that Swiss pharma giant Roche had approached Pacific Biosciences about a takeover deal. Here is the link:

HSBC takeaway

Ping! An email arrives from HSBC with the headline:

HSBC sole financial advisor to ChemChina on Syngenta acquisition

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Mega consortium comes together for London City Airport; China's HNA also rumoured to have submitted first round offer - part 4

There is a good story in the Financial Times this evening about British Airways and London City Airport.

BA is threatening to pull out of London City if the airport is sold for more than £2 billion as it could result in higher charges for the airline, according to the Financial Times. Here is the link:

Quelle Surprise: J Sainsbury agrees 161p a share takeover bid for Home Retail Group

I see J Sainsbury and Home Retail Group have effectively agreed a deal that will see the latter taken out for 161p a share by the FTSE 100 company. Here is the link:

http://www.investegate.co.uk/sainsbury-j--plc--sbry-/rns/possible-offer-for-home-retail-group-plc/201602020704437439N/

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Weekend review on Sky, Home Retail Group, J Sainsbury, Slater & Gordon, Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group.

There is plenty to reflect on in the British business press this weekend.

First off, I note that the Financial Times has done a reverse ferret of its position on whether wiley old Rupert Murdoch will have another run at Sky.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Quelle Surprise: Reuters reveals Brookfield is weighing $30 billion takeover of General Growth Properties

I would have done this post earlier but I have been sidetracked by, well, general larking about, including a jolly nice lunch with an old contact at Richard Caring's The Ivy, where I spotted Tory party supremo Lord Feldman chowing down.

Anyway, that's enough of the blatant name dropping. The point of this post is to highlight that Reuters last night picked up on my tip from earlier in the week on Tip TV about US property giant General Growth Properties.

RARE Alert: Reckitt Benckiser said to be working with Robey Warshaw on major deal - part 2

It's good to see little old Betaville's RARE story about Reckitt Benckiser followed up in the British stock market reports this morning.

Just over a month ago I wrote that Reckitt was working with (which is different to formally appointing) uber bankers at Robey Warshaw on a major deal. Here is a link to that piece:

Thursday, 28 January 2016

More GSK rumours from the Twitterati - part 2

Should I be surprised how these random Twitter rumours get out of control? Probably not.

But there are some readers who are now claiming that little old Betaville is reporting Johnson & Johnson is weighing a bid for GlaxoSmithKline.

Burmese Business - part 4

It still never ceases to amaze me how quickly stocks fall in and out of fashion with investors, traders and market participants.

Indeed, the healthcare/ biotech sector has taken another serious pasting today following worse-than-expected figures from Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant. So, AstraZeneca is down 3pc today while Shire has fallen almost 5pc.

More GSK rumours from the Twitterati

Here's an interesting Tweet from Open Outcrier:


Hearing vague takeover chatter mentioning JNJ as acquirer. Unconfirmed market chatter.

Irritating

If there is one thing that really irritates me it's being beaten to the punch by rival hacks on a story I had spent several days trying to stand up.

Yes, that does occasionally happen to me.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Shell/BG Group worries - part 5

I see Royal Dutch Shell's £35 billion purchase of BG Group has been approved by over 80pc of the  Anglo Dutch company's shareholders.

So I guess the Telegraph's recent scaremongering about the deal collapsing, led by Jupiter fund manager Ian McVeigh, was just, err, scaremongering....

Back on Tip TV talking about GlaxoSmithKline, Home Retail Group and General Growth Properties - part 2

There is an interesting piece in the The Times this morning about J Sainsbury's submitting a revised offer for Home Retail Group (I would paste the link but it doesn't seem to work).

The piece, written by my old boss Richard Fletcher, sort of echoes some of the things I talked about on Tip TV earlier in the week.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Duben's firm Oakley hungry for Ed's Easy Diner - part 3

I have been wondering what happened to the Ed's Easy Diner sale process since I wrote my last piece about a potential deal "moving closer to completion". Here is a link to that article in case you haven't seen it:

http://betaville123.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/dubenss-firm-oakley-hungry-for-eds-easy.html

Clearly, there has been no deal since I wrote that article in December 2015 and I pride myself in publishing accurate stories, so I have been investigating the situation.

Top of the market? - part 5

Stockmarkets around the world are taking another hammering this week, with the FTSE 100 down  1pc this morning after a major sell off in China.

So, I'm wondering whether the "top of the market" series I started on little old Betaville last summer highlighting several clear "top-of-the-market" indicators was a rather prescient warning for investors?

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Sunday review

There were plenty of interesting stories in the Sunday newspaper business sections this weekend.

One tale, though, that caught my eye was the business splash of The Sunday Times.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Lipin in the limelight

I'm not in the habit of giving Bloomberg much praise as the journalists that work there are pretty good at praising themselves.

However, I have to admit I rather enjoyed this - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-21/deal-of-the-week-controlling-the-m-a-story - from the mighty news outlet's M&A team.

Quelle Surprise: Sky News exclusively reveals HNA is working with Barclays on a £2 billion bid for London City Airport

I see Mark Kleinman, who I once had the pleasure of working for at The Sunday Telegraph, of Sky News has unearthed a rather interesting story about China's HNA Group working with Barclays on a multi-million takeover bid of London City Airport, the British dealmakers' favourite airport that has been put up for sale by its private equity owners.

Regular readers of little old Betaville won't be surprised to learn about HNA's interest in purchasing London City Airport. Why? Well, back in December 2015 Betaville revealed China's HNA had submitted a first round offer for London City Airport. In case you don't recall, here is the link to that story:

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Bears tuck into Avanti but...

Global stock markets have taken a right walloping over the last few months - in some cases indices are down 20pc from last year's highs - but there are a few stocks that are getting hit particularly hard.

One of the companies taking a major pounding is London-listed Avanti Communications, the satellite operator and broadband provider. The stock is down almost 12pc today and has crashed 55pc to 113p in the last three months despite a series of upbeat announcements, including client wins in Africa and a British government contract win to provide around 300,000 UK households who have suffered from rubbish internet from BT Group.

Kevin Spacey's Wisekey poised to seal deal with GEM - part 2

Oh look - I see Wisekey has confirmed my tale from yesterday about GEM making a multi-million dollar investment in the digital security company backed by Kevin Spacey.

Here is a link today's announcement regarding the deal, which appears to have been completed in Davos.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160119006327/en/WISeKey-Announces-World-Economic-Forum-Davos-Secured

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Kevin Spacey's Wisekey poised to seal deal with GEM

I guess little old Betaville wouldn't be a serious news outlet without at least one Davos-related scoopette on the blogsite.

Well, here is one tale involving the huge hobnobbing event: I understand that Wisekey - which is hosting a Cybersecurity roundtable at Davos tomorrow that includes the likes of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales - is on the verge of securing a multi-million pound investment from a New York-based private equity fund called GEM (also known as Global Emerging Markets).

Ramp up Tuesday

Many market participants this morning have been focussing on FTSE 250-listed online retailer Ocado, which saw its shares leap almost 20pc. I'm not commenting on that tale here but people who know me well know what I think of the jackanory.

I'm more interested in the fact two of Mitchells & Butlers largest shareholders have been quietly upping their stakes in the pub company despite the fact the shares last year performed terribly.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Top hedgie lands role at venerable Takeover Panel.

Eyebrows were raised in the City after it emerged yesterday that Michael Herzog - a top hedge fund manager who specialises in placing big bets on takeover deals - is working for the Takeover Panel, the City's regulator of mergers & acquisitions.

Here is the link to yesterday's announcement (which as far as I can see hasn't been picked up in the mainstream business press)

Village gossip - a new City diary on the way

City diary columns have been on the wane during the current tough times for British newspapers, with some business sections getting rid of the column altogether.

Why? Well, it's a column that can often cause major legal (and possibly expensive) headaches for business editors, especially if the diary writer is good at his job. But a good diary writer can liven up a section with his/her mischief making and often stumbles across some incredible scoops for the front of the business section.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

RARE Alert: Tesco's latest trading figures said to be "much" better than expected - part 2

It would appear my sources were bang on the money about Tesco's trading figures coming in "significantly" better than expected.

Tesco shares are up 6pc following the release of the supermarket group's 3rd quarter trading update:

http://www.investegate.co.uk/tesco-plc--tsco-/rns/tesco-plc-3q-and-christmas-trading-statement-1516/201601140700078128L/

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The maverick retailer, the upper class fund manager and ... spoof

James "Quinny" Quinn, the group business editor of The Daily Telegraph, has just published a rather good story about the urbane Crispin Odey upping his stake in Sports Direct to back over 5pc. Here is the link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/12098486/sports-direct-crispin-odey-share-price-fall-5pc-investor.html

RARE Alert: Tesco's latest trading figures said to be "much" better than expected

I'm afraid I'm a bit light on M&A scoops today but here are few bits of juicy market RARE that I stumbled across whilst scurrying about in the undergrowth.

I'm hearing from good sources that Tesco is poised to unveil "significantly" better-than-expected festive period trading figures, so keep an eye on the tape tomorrow morning for an upbeat statement from the supermarket giant.

4 into 3 or 6 into 5?

Ben Marlow's comment piece in today's The Daily Telegraph is worth a read.

Marlow - a former colleague from time as a cub reporter at Mergermarket.com and a top hack - makes some interesting points about Britain's beleaguered supermarket sector and the potential for consolidation. In case you missed Marlow's article, here is the link:

Monday, 11 January 2016

Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - the end?

I see that London-listed Shire has finally formally announced its £22 billion takeover of US rival Baxalta.

Perhaps it's time to start a new series about another FTSE 100 pharmaceutical company's plans to pursue a "transformational" deal?

So, keep an eye on little old Betaville later this week...

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - part 7

I had been wondering what happened to Shire's takeover of Baxalta after Bloomberg reported last weekend that the deal was expected to be announced last week.

Could there be a spanner in the works?

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Deals, deals, deals - part 2

My old boss Richard "Fletch" Fletcher, now business editor of The Times, has just landed a rather interesting scoop about Sir Terry Leahy and US buy-out firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CDR) weighing a counter bid for Home Retail Group.

Here is the link:

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Deals, deals, deals...

Well that didn't take long - dealmaking (in the UK, at least) is back in full flow.

And I guess my chums Oliver Shah and Daniel Dunkley of The Sunday Times deserve some credit for today's news about J Sainsbury's £1 billion bid for Home Retail Group.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Mining mergers

The Australian Financial Review has written a rather peculiar but interesting comment piece arguing Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton should merge.

Here is a link to the article:

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - part 6

It would appear the "dullest $30 billion bid battle in history" is drawing to a close.

Bloomberg yesterday reported that Shire and Baxalta could announce a deal, partly funded by cash, this week. Here is a link to the Bloomberg article:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-03/shire-said-in-advanced-talks-to-acquire-u-s-drugmaker-baxalta

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Shell/ BG Group worries - part 4

Wow - Ian McVeigh of Jupiter Fund Management has written another column in The Sunday Telegraph criticising Royal Dutch Shell's £40 billion purchase of BG Group.

In case you missed it, here is the link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/12078269/Fund-management-industrys-credibility-on-show-in-planned-BG-Shell-merger.html