Monday 31 March 2014

House of China

Great scoop from Ben Marlow over the weekend about House of Fraser.

Ben, currently the M&A reporter at The Sunday Times, revealed that one of China's richest men is in advanced talks to buy the 165-year-old department store chain from its eclectic bunch of shareholders.

Friday 28 March 2014

Fancy a pint?

Am I the only person to have noticed that pub companies Mitchells & Butlers and Greene King are currently trading on the stock market with almost identical market capitalisations?

Thursday 27 March 2014

Foxtons founder gets busy with chalet renovations in Courchevel 1850

Loyal Betaville readers might have noticed I am back from my jaunt in the French Alps.

But there was one thing I forgot to mention. While out in Courchevel 1850, I stumbled across a tale about how Jon Hunt - the founder of Foxtons - was spending a small fortune renovating a chalet in the resort.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Another dust up between dealmakers - but this time on Twitter

Today is clearly about corporate governance rows!

But the latest spat between banking heir Nathaniel Rothschild and the Bakries, the wealthy Indonesian family, has taken an altogether more fruity twist than the row between Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation ands Sir Paul Judge (see an earlier post).

ENRC sailed off into the sunset....

Remember Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation? 

If not, here is a gentle reminder: ENRC was the Kazakh mining company that successfully floated in 2007 but the business was taken private by its founders late last year following a long-running corporate governance spat with Sir Paul Judge, the City grandee who used to sit on the board of the business. 

Monday 24 March 2014

Whirlpool prepares takeover of Arsenal sponsor Indesit

American giant Whirlpool is closing in on a Euro 2.3 billion acquisition of Indesit, an Italian home appliances company that sponsors Arsenal Football Club.

Friday 21 March 2014

Save the Rich - only in Courchevel 1850...

Loyal Betaville readers might have noticed my blogging has been a bit less busy this week.

Don't worry! I have gone snowboarding for a couple of days in Courchevel 1850, a French ski resort in the Alps,  and will be back next week.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Swiss posturing

Swiss Re this morning announced it is proposing a 10pc increase in its ordinary dividend to 3.85 Swiss francs a share and also additional special dividend of 4.15 Swiss francs a share. See the link:

Monday 17 March 2014

Italian companies and their difficulty with the truth

Interesting to see Pirelli and Rosneft announce this morning the Russian gas giant has acquired a significant stake in the tyre group's holding company.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Why wrestling is important for Newcastle United

Here is a tale about a potential US deal that may have significant implications for Newcastle United Football Club.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Agnelli family said to be in talks to buy 20pc of Swiss Re

I think I might have landed another genuine scoop. Here it is:

I understand a trust controlled by Italy's Agnelli family has been holding talks with Swiss Re about buying a 20pc stake in the insurance giant worth up to 8bn Swiss Francs.

Monday 10 March 2014

ING moves closer to Euro 8 billion float of its insurance arm

I hear one of the largest flotations in Europe is getting close to lift off.

ING, which was bailed out by the Dutch government after the financial crisis, confirmed earlier this year it has already appointed JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and, funnily enough, ING on a potential listing of its insurance business.

Another outstanding column from Parkinson

Gary Parkinson, stockmarket correspondent at The Times, has produced another excellent 'Trade Secrets' column this morning.

It's a piece that combines incredible writing with profound understanding of how the City's dealmaking machine works.

Friday 7 March 2014

Metso under the spotlight

A Finnish company called Metso has caught my eye.

Metso shares were up 5pc yesterday and are up another 1.5pc today (readers should be aware the stock crashed at the beginning of the year).

There has been vague talk doing the rounds all week that there is "something going on" with Metso

Thursday 6 March 2014

Aviva and its chief bottle washer

Mark Wilson appears to be doing a good job with the turnaround of Aviva. 

At his first set of annual results, Mr Wilson this morning reported full-year profits of £2.2bn after tax in 2013 compared to a £2.9bn loss the previous year.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Hedgies and their love affair with Belsize Park continues....or not

What is it with top hedge fund managers and beautiful properties in Belsize Park?

I hear from knowledgeable sources this lovely mansion - - is being sold by one of London's most successful hedgies of the noughties credit boom.

Monday 3 March 2014

FT Alphaville lights up Reynolds Lorrilard $50bn merger story

Hat tip to the boys over at FT Alphaville for breaking the Reynolds American bid for Lorrilard story on Markets Live this morning.

I myself had been working on this story but FT Alphaville has (somewhat irritatingly) beaten me to the punch - and credit where credit is due.