Thursday 31 July 2014

BAT sits on the sidelines...for now

Looking over this morning's coverage of British American Tobacco's recent figures, I see a couple of newspaper reporters tried to tempt Nicandro Durante, CEO of BAT, into spilling the beans about whether the tobacco giant has any plans to consolidate its position in the US.

BAT has opted to stump up $4.7 billion to keep its stake in Reynolds American at 42pc while it merges with rival Lorillard as part of $50 billion plus mega merger.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

O3b internet spat

As chief executives, entrepreneurs and City dealmakers slope off to the Mediterranean for August
(islands off the Italian coast appear to be particularly in vogue at the moment), I am going to look at a few more "off-beat" stories.

One of the quirkier tales I have encountered recently involves a spat about O3b on You Tube, so I thought it was worth airing on little old Betaville.

Friday 25 July 2014

Bear hug

Quelle surprise - another Bank of America Merrill Lynch bear hug has fallen over.

This year the Wall Street investment bank has advised several companies trying to buy rival businesses using a "bear hug", an aggressive tactic used in M&A to force the the target company to the negotiating table by making an indicative offer public.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Laughing stock

It looks like Pepsi's long-only shareholders are really piling the pressure on the company to give Nelson Peltz seats on the consumer giant's board.

The Financial Times is reporting that Calstrs, the California teacher's retirement system, has told Pepsi's senior independent director that Trian, Peltz's fund, could help Pepsi address its operational performance and open new management ideas, so the company should give Peltz a seat on the board.

Tuesday 22 July 2014


I see Apple chip maker Dialog Semiconductor and AMS have called off their SFr4 billion merger.

Here is a link to this morning's announcement from Dialog Semiconductor regarding the termination of merger taks:

Saturday 19 July 2014

Another day, another multibillion pharma deal - part 2

Now that the £32 billion AbbVie/Shire deal looks to be "done" (or at least for the time being), it's time to look at another potential deal brewing in the sector.

I hear GlaxoSmithKline is in the early stages of examining a multi-billion dollar takeover bid for US-based biopharmaceutical company InterMune.

Friday 18 July 2014

Is this the end of my what's missing from AbbVie's £32 billion takeover bid for Shire series?

I see there is no mention of Lazard in this morning's $53 billion deal announcement from AbbVie and Shire (for readers unfamiliar with this ongoing tale it might be worthwhile clicking here:

I am presuming, therefore, the venerable firm has not been hired by Shire as a "rule 3" adviser. Rule 3 advisers are typically appointed by British company boards to advise on whether an offer is "fair".

Thursday 17 July 2014

There is something different about this booming IPO market

It struck me the other day that amid the recent IPO euphoria there appeared to be fewer foreign companies coming to list on the London market.

This year has seen the best first quarter for flotations since the first three months of 2007 but on the surface it seems to me that most of the recent floats have been private equity-backed businesses or entrepreneur-owned companies based in the UK.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Fancy that: BAT appoints Deutsche Bank alongside UBS to advise on $4.7 billion investment in Reynolds/Lorrillard merger

I see British American Tobacco has finally put on an announcement effectively confirming my story on the front page of The Times a few months ago.

Back in May, I wrote that BAT had asked Deutsche Bank to work alongside UBS, the company's long-standing financial adviser, on how it should pursue and finance deals in America. Here is a link to the article:

Shire PR

Wow - Susan Kilsby, chairwoman of Shire, seems to be getting a lot of positive newspaper coverage this morning.

Kilsby, who I once met while working at The Daily Telegraph when she was at Credit Suisse, has even managed to generate praise from Alistair Osborne, an old colleague who rarely hands out compliments to investment bankers.

Monday 14 July 2014

Bitter Sweet(t) moment for WSP

I bet property consultant WSP is feeling rather relieved that it didn't press ahead with the purchase of Sweett Group at the beginning of the year.

For readers that don't recall, I had a story that WSP - which is owned by Canada-based Genivar Inc - was on the verge of buying Sweett Group in early January but pulled out of the deal around the time the Aim-listed business made this announcement:

A further update to my what's missing from AbbVie's £27 billion takeover bid for Shire story?

I wonder whether the market will finally find out whether Lazard has secured a role on the AbbVie/Shire deal?

(for readers wondering why I have posited this question it might be worthwhile clicking on the link to this previous article:

Land Registry privatisation plans go up in smoke

My "exclusive" story on the cancellation of the Land Registry privatisation is about to be confirmed, according to newspaper reports.

Readers might remember that the Mail on Sunday's business section splashed on my Land Registry tale just over a couple of weeks ago. Here is a link to the piece:

Saturday 12 July 2014

Fancy that: Whirlpool buys Indesit stake; Reynolds in advanced talks to buy Lorrilard

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last couple of days Betavillers. I have been down in deepest, darkest Kent with little access to the internet.

Anyway, I just thought I would write a quick post to celebrate the (or potential) announcement of a couple of big deals covered in depth on Betaville over the last few months.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Something afoot with Boots - part 2

It appears I might have kicked hornet's nest with this Alliance Boots piece I published a couple of days ago.

Indeed, people close to the situation have been in touch and they weren't best pleased with what I wrote. Here is a link to the original article I published earlier in the week:

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Something afoot with Boots

I have been in two minds about publishing this piece but I have now run into a bit of a brick wall, so I have decided I may as well go with what I know.

Last week a good source hinted to me that there may be something untoward going on with Alliance Boots's debt.

La Repubblica reports Whirlpool close to being picked as preferred bidder for Indesit stake

Here is a tale for Betaville readers that have been following the long, drawn out auction of Indesit, the Italian home appliances company that sponsors Arsenal Football Club.

Apparently, Fineldo - the Merloni family's investment vehicle - has now received three binding offers for its 45pc stake in Indesit.

Friday 4 July 2014

SMBC rumoured to be weighing £2 billion Porterbrook takeover

Evening Betavillers - here's a little tale for you to ruminate on over the weekend.

I hear one of Japan's biggest financial institutions may be weighing a £2 billion plus takeover bid for rolling stock giant Porterbrook.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Bank of America Merrill Lynch returns with another bear hug

Hat tip to Bryce Elder, the stock market reporter over at the Financial Times, for landing the best M&A story of the morning and who looks to be on a bit of deals story winning streak (remember last week Bryce broke the story about the Dialog and AMS merger - time for a pay rise, Ed?).

This morning the flying scotsman revealed in his market report that Mothercare had received a £266m takeover bid from US outfit Destination Maternity Corporation. Here is a link to Bryce's market report:

Tuesday 1 July 2014

ING insurance float finally lifts off

I see reports are emerging that Dutch financial services giant ING is on the verge of listing its insurance arm in what should be one of the biggest IPO's of the year.

Here is a link to a Bloomberg piece: