Tuesday 7 October 2014

When "old" news becomes new news...

Hat tip to the Bloomberg M&A reporting team for smoking out Glencore's approach to Rio Tinto about a $160 billion merger.

For anybody who hasn't been following closely, Bloomberg revealed yesterday that a few weeks ago mining giant Glencore approached Chinalco, one of Rio Tinto's largest shareholders, to gauge the state-backed company's interest in whether it would like to see to two mining groups combine.

As a result, both Rio Tinto and Glencore have both had to cough up about the latter's takeover approach in July 2014 to the former. However, the "news" has effectively kiboshed a merger - at least, in the short term. This afternoon, Glencore, led by the pugnacious Ivan Glasenberg, said it is not "actively considering" a multi-billion takeover offer for Rio Tinto.

During my time working as an M&A reporter in national newspaper newsrooms, there is always a lively debate (sometimes arguments) between deals reporters and editors about whether it's worthwhile reporting historical talks about potential deals i.e if its not live - what's the point?

The Sunday Times, though, showed how to do it back in April when the newspaper's business section revealed the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer had held talks earlier in the year with AstraZeneca about a £60 billion takeover despite no "live" negotiations between the two companies at the time of publication. Here is a link to that piece:


After a week of silence from both sides, Pfizer publicly launched its takeover bid for AstraZeneca and we all know what happened next.    

So, I thought it might worthwhile airing a piece of "old" news I stumbled across last week in the event that eventually something becomes "live" again.

There were some rumours doing the rounds in investment banking circles that APR Energy - the London-listed temporary power provider - worked with bankers from Barclays on a "strategic review" back in March/April. Apparently, several private equity firms were interested in the business but the "strategic review" never went anywhere.

And I was also tipped off last week that Barclays had revived the strategic review on behalf of APR Energy.

However, after speaking to people "familiar with the matter", I was told this was completely untrue and that Barclays hasn't been appointed to carry out a "strategic review" at APR, which achieved a London listing by reversing into Hugh Osmond's Horizon vehicle.

It sounds like, for the moment, it really is "old" news then...

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