Saturday 29 November 2014

Banks edge closer to £400 million Mouchel sale; Kier in the running

It sounds like the Mouchel sale I was talking about on Tip TV yesterday morning is getting closer to completion.

Some of my best sources got in touch after yesterday's session on Tip TV. They believe Mouchel and its advisers at NM Rothschild are now in very serious/advanced discussions about a deal with at least one buyer, and I think the purchaser could very well be Kier Group.

Friday 28 November 2014

Vodafone, Vodafone

There appears to be battle between Bloomberg and the Financial Times to break stories about what mega-deal Vodafone might be about to do next.

The Financial Times reported an hour ago that:

Back on Tip TV talking about Kier Group - again - Friends Life and the telecoms sector

In case you missed it, here is my Tip TV clip from this morning's session.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Permira, Bridgepoint said to weigh £500 million bids for Big Bus Tours - part 2

In case you are following the Big Bus Tours auction in detail, I hear from good sources four bidders have been shortlisted to participate in the sale process.

Those bidders are private equity firms Permira, Bridgepoint, Advent International and Canadian pension fund Omers.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Dixons Carphone overtakes some of Britain's biggest listed retailers in market capitalisation

Oh look - as of tonight's market close, Dixons Carphone is now larger than both J Sainsbury and WM Morrison, two of Britain's largest supermarket groups.

Dixons Carphone's shares have come a long way since I revealed back in February on little old Betaville that FTSE 250 companies Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail were in serious merger talks.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Rule 2.8 e

I have to admit I was a little bit surprised to see reports this week claiming America's Stryker Corporation is "discussing the financing" of a multi-billion pound acquisition of orthopaedics maker Smith & Nephew.

For readers that don't recall, the Financial Times revealed in May that Stryker was looking at buying London-listed Smith & Nephew. However, once the US-based company was outed, it did an about turn and restricted itself from making an offer for six months.

Monday 24 November 2014

Permira, Bridgepoint said to weigh £500 million bids for Big Bus Tours

Wow - the UK M&A market has suddenly roared back into life. And to think last Thursday I was on Tip TV noting how quiet it was in the British dealmaking scene for this time of year.

A few days later it emerged insurance giant Aviva is in advanced talks to buy Friends Life for over £5 billion (multiple hat tips to Kleinman of Sky News, Neil Hume at the Financial Times and Geoff Foster over at the Daily Mail for smoking out this deal). BT, meanwhile, announced this morning that it is looking at purchasing either O2 or EE. I guess that will probably be the last time I ever say it is "quiet" in UK M&A (yes, I realise I have used this joke twice in the last fortnight).

Friday 21 November 2014

Chinese merchant bank zooms into Formula One

This is rather intriguing. Click on the link below and you will see that Caterham, the Formula One team that recently found itself in financial difficulty, has found a new sponsor in North Square Blue Oak and is set to race in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Back on Tip TV talking about Kier Group, big US deals and BP

Nick Batsford - aka Moose - very kindly asked me back onto Tip TV to talk about M&A. As usual, it was great fun and also a great honour - I preceded veteran City commentators such as Panmure Gordon's David Buik.  

Here is a link to today's clip: 

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Another US 'vulture' fund circles Stemcor

Here is an interesting snippet I picked up the Stemcor restructuring situation I wrote about in The Sunday Times last weekend.

I hear from good sources that Monarch Alternative Capital, a US fund that specialises in buying distressed loans (also dubbed by some news outlets as a 'vulture' fund), has built up a sizeable position in Stemcor's debt.

Monday 17 November 2014

Microchip finally rules itself out for CSR...

It's game over for investors that were betting on a potential counter bid from US group Microchip Technology for London-listed CSR.

This morning the US company said it will not proceed with making an offer for CSR after having approached the FTSE 250 company back in August. Here is a link to Microchip's statement:

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Never say its quiet...

Typical. I mentioned it was unusually quiet in the UK corporate dealmaking scene in a post this morning and a couple of hours later my rivals unearth a cracking scoop.

Anyway, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment confirmed at lunchtime that it has entered into talks with companies interested in buying, or merging with, the online gaining group.

Chinese said to be circling Premier League - again..

It's unusually quiet in the UK corporate dealmaking scene so I thought I would take a look at a story in another sector I have a profound interest in: Premier League football.

I picked up a snippet doing the rounds last week that Dalian Wanda, the Chinese real estate company controlled by billionaire Wang Jianlin, may have rekindled its interest in buying a Premier League football club.

Monday 10 November 2014

A Sunday review on a Monday...

Tucked away in the middle of Oliver Shah's story on J Sainsbury in The Sunday Times this weekend was quite an interesting nugget of information that appears to have been overlooked by the market.

Yesterday, Oliver revealed within the body of his news article on J Sainsbury that Crystal Amber, the activist investor run by Richard Bernstein, has been looking at the supermarket group with a view to advising a large US fund on carrying out an activist campaign involving the company.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

A man called Klein

I have been ruminating on last week's piece in the Companies section of the Financial Times on the uber rainmaker Michael Klein. In case you missed it, here is a link to the piece by the excellent Daniel Schafer:

Schafer unearthed some extremely interesting history and quotes about Klein, who hit the headlines for supposedly advising on the $41 billion merger of Glencore and Xstrata as a one man band. Nice work if you get it.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Blue is the colour for a red rainmaker

Looking over last week's coverage of Christian Purslow's appointment as the new commercial boss of Chelsea FC it struck me that little has been made of the former City dealmaker's past career in the Square Mile and what that might mean for the Premier League club.

I remember Purslow from when he was at private equity firm Mid Ocean Partners, doing deals such as the £150m leveraged buy-out of LA Fitness. Prior to Mid Ocean, Purslow worked as a high-flying investment banker at Schroders and Credit Suisse.

Monday 3 November 2014

Another cracker from Parky

I know I give Parky's trade secrets column in The Times a lot of airtime on Betaville but I just can't help doing it again this morning as his latest missive is absolutely hilarious, spot on and incredibly well written.

In case you haven't had a chance to look at Gary Parkinson's column, here is a link to it:

Sunday 2 November 2014

Fancy that - ENRC wins latest tussle with Sir Paul Judge - part 2

My court mole has been back in touch after having a bit of time to look over Mrs Justice Swift's judgement on whether the row between Sir Paul Judge and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation should proceed to trial.

For readers that don't recall, Sir Paul was trying to get the courts to strike out some claims made against him for allegedly leaking board level information at ENRC, which was once listed on the FTSE 100 index. Here is a link to an Evening Standard piece on the topic: