Thursday 31 December 2015

Geoff Foster goes big!

I see Geoff Foster has gone big on New Year's eve.

The veteran market reporter at The Daily Mail reveals in his final column of the year that Vodafone and US cable giant Liberty Global are likely to pursue a £140 billion merger in 2016 after talks were rekindled in the last few weeks.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

RARE alert: Reckitt Benckiser said to be working with Robey Warshaw on major deal

Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive of FTSE 100-listed Reckitt Benkiser, has been talking up the prospects of doing some major M&A in 2016.

Indeed, a few weeks ago Morgan Stanley analysts quoted Mr Kapoor as saying:

Sunday 27 December 2015

Sunday review

There weren't many big deal stories in the British Sunday business press today but I guess that's to be expected given the time of year.

Still, there was one decent tale that caught my eye - Daniel Dunkley's piece in The Sunday Times about the major shareholders in Aveva pushing for a sale following the collapse of the Schneider deal. Here is a link to Dan's piece:

Given Dan broke the original Aveva sale/ Schneider bid story earlier this year, it's clearly a situation worth keeping an eye on...

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Sunday review - part 3

There's still no formal statement from Comcast regarding ITV on a regulatory news service despite the US media company providing on-the-record denials to wire services.

Perhaps the well-spoken chaps over at Takeover Panel, the UK regulator for mergers and acquisitions, have knocked off for the year?

Top of the market? - part 4

The Times sports section had a great scoop this morning about a consortium of American investors closing in on a takeover of Everton Football Club. In case you missed it, here is a link to Rory Smith's story:

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Mitchells & Butlers said to be carrying out "full review"

Could pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers see significant structural change in 2016?

The shares, down about 12pc on the year, have lagged rivals Greene King, up 25pc over 2015, and Marston's, up 17 over the year.

Sunday review - part 2

Comcast gave some pretty punchy on-the-record quotes to Variety regarding its reported interest in ITV. Here is a link to the Variety piece: 

Monday 21 December 2015

Mega consortium comes together for London City Airport; China's HNA also rumoured to have submitted first round offer - part 3

This slipped under the radar yesterday thanks to some end-of-year merrymaking but I note that Ben Martin over at The Sunday Telegraph ran a story about a "mega consortium" coming together to mount a £2 billion bid for London City Airport.

Here is a link to Ben's piece:

Sunday 20 December 2015

Sunday review

I thought dealmaking in the UK was about to slow down until the New Year but today it would appear I may have been proved wrong.

Jon Rees, deputy business editor on the Mail on Sunday, reveals that Comcast, the US media giant, is weighing an £11 billion pound takeover bid for ITV after holding talks with the FTSE 100-listed broadcaster.

Friday 18 December 2015

Stryker returns?

The Stryker for Smith & Nephew rumour has returned roughly a year after Bloomberg was putting it about the market.

This time, though, the tale is being aired by The Street / (see below).

Thursday 17 December 2015

Mega consortium comes together for London City Airport; China's HNA also rumoured to have submitted first round offer - part 2

The Australian appears to have ripped off one my news lines (well, the one about Macquarie dropping out as a principal bidder) from the London City Airport story I published earlier this week.

It's not the first time the Aussie newspaper has done that with one of my stories although I have to admit it's been quite a while since the news outlet has flattered me in such a manner.

Lenigas said to be close to firing up super boiler - part 2

I see micro cap Inspirit Energy has essentially confirmed my tale from earlier in the week. In case you missed it, I have pasted the main thrust of this morning's press release below:

Inspirit, the London AIM (Ticker:INSP) quoted developer of 2 & 3kW electrical, 15kW thermal micro combined heat and power boilers, is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of operational testing on its first Inspirit Charger microCHP appliance for field trial use.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

RARE ALERT: Fagron said to have drawn interest from Cinven et al - part 2

I have taken a lot of stick since I published my original article on Fagron, the Belgian pharmaceutical company, a few weeks ago.

Despite the somewhat sceptical tone of my original piece, some readers/followers/friends have been ribbing me for writing about Cinven's interest in purchasing Fagron, especially as the company recently called off takeover talks with potential buyers, which sent the share price plummeting.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Shell / BG Group worries - part 3

There has been a lot of debate in the British financial press in recent weeks about whether Shell should press ahead with its multi-billion pound purchase of rival BG Group.

Ian McVeigh of Jupiter Fund Management has been particularly vocal in his opposition, likening the transaction to Royal Bank of Scotland's disastrous purchase of Dutch rival ABN Amro at the height of the credit boom. Read all about it here:

Monday 14 December 2015

Lenigas said to be close to firing up super boiler

Here's an interesting nugget about a little AIM-listed company chaired by one of the London market's most colourful dealmakers - David Lenigas.

The tale involves Inspirit Energy, which for the last few years has been developing a super efficient boiler that generates heat AND electricity.

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

I have a little update on the sale of every City dealmakers' favourite airport.

Ever since news of the £2 billion sale of London City airport broke in the Financial Times this summer bidders have been circling the asset.

Back on Tip TV talking about Fagron, Apache Corporation and Inspirit Energy

Here is a link to my last session on Tip TV until the New Year:

Friday 11 December 2015

Top of the market? - part 3

Equity, high yield debt and corporate bond markets might be tumbling today but there is one asset class that is flirting with levels not seen since the great credit boom of the mid-noughties - leveraged loans.

I'm hearing that some of the recent private equity deals, such as KKR's £900 million takeover of Government Chemist LGC, are being done on some pretty racy debt/leveraged loan multiples.

Flag pole alert - part 6

Bryce Elder's stock market report column in the Financial Times caught my eye this morning.

The intrepid hack led his column with a juicy market tale about how UBS - British American Tobacco's longstanding corporate broker and financial adviser - had decided to stop carrying out equity research on the tobacco sector despite recently poaching a top sector analyst from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Deals, deals of UK deals

Ping! Another email arrives containing a press release celebrating the fact that it's been a "record" year for global dealmaking. The latest missive comes from Deloitte, whose release is entitled:

Global M&A deal activity to top US $4 trillion this year, the highest value since 2007

I guess the bean counters round at Deloitte might be onto something. Yesterday, for example, it emerged Dow Chemical is in talks to combine with rival Du Pont as part of a $120 billion merger deal.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Dubens's firm Oakley hungry for Ed's Easy Diner - part 2

It would appear a takeover is Ed's Easy Diner (I'm not going to describe the chain as "tired" and "old" as last time the company spokesperson rang me to whinge so I will leave it the reader to decide what they think of the concept) is moving closer to completion.

According to well-placed sources, the Ed's Easy Diner sale process is entering the final stages and a £100 million deal could be announced in the next few weeks.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Quelle surprise: Bridgepoint sells former Government Chemist LGC

I'm glad to see Bridgepoint, the UK-based private equity firm, has finally confirmed it's sold LGC to US buy-out giant KKR.

Now, I'm not necessarily pleased for Bridgepoint, who I'm sure has made a ton of cash from its investment in LGC (from what I recall LGC was privatised for £3 million but the private equity firm was expected to sell it for between £700 million and £900 million). It's just good to see one of my stories - that was denied to me at the time of publication by the parties involved - has finally been confirmed.

Friday 4 December 2015

Sky's the limit - part 2

A lot has been made of the quote that James Murdoch gave to the Hollywood Reporter a few months ago.

Indeed, the quote appears to have triggered banker gossip - highlighted by the Financial Times yesterday - that perhaps the Murdochs/Fox are sellers of the 40pc stake in Sky.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Irish horse racing tycoons prepare to fire starting gun on sale of Marks & Spencer's juice maker

Do you remember Wellness Foods?

Well in case you don't, here is a little reminder. During the credit boom of the mid-noughties a group of Irish "tycoons" - said to include Denis Brosnan, formerly the boss of food company Kerry Group - backed Wellness via Switzerland-based Lydian Capital to consolidate Britain's health food market. So, Wellness set about gobbling up upmarket and sloaney food brands such as Dorset Cereals and Rowse Honey.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

The accountant, the tax avoidance scheme and the magazine

I have a little yarn that might cheer up freelance readers struggling to get their paperwork ready for January's tax returns.

The tale involves Deloitte, the accountancy giant, a multi-million pound tax avoidance scheme known as Icebreaker and an article in Tax Advisor Magazine.

Flag pole alert - part 4

It does now appear unlikely British American Tobacco will pounce on Imperial Tobacco given last night's BBC Panorama allegations. At least, I wouldn't expect a deal in the near future...

Friday 27 November 2015

Telecity/Equinix appoint Royal Bank of Canada to begin data centre sale

Here's a titbit on Telecity Group's £2.35 billion sale to US data centre giant Equinix.

I understand Equinix and London-listed Telecity have appointed advisers at Royal Bank of Canada to begin the sale of certain data centres in major European financial centres, including London.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Informa said to be sniffing around Top Right Group

FTSE 250-listed Informa, the publisher of Lloyd's List, has been studying a £1 billion takeover of Top Right Group, the publishing, data and events company backed by the Guardian Media Group.

According to well-placed sources, Informa recently expressed an interest in Top Right Group, publisher of several well-known trade magazines such as Retail Week.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Shell/BG Group worries - part 2

I guess merger arb funds don't need to worry after all about the Royal Dutch Shell / BG Group deal falling apart as the The Times business section has this morning revealed the Qataris (who have been selling out of both companies recently) are backing the deal.

In fact, the tale is the splash (UK journo parlance for main story on the front page) and appears to be well sourced. Here is a link to the piece:

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Flag pole alert - part 3

The broker upgrades are coming thick and fast following Bryce Elder's piece on Imperial Tobacco late last week.

Yesterday, Citigroup upgraded Imperial Tobacco to a "buy" and now Exane BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley have pieces out to clients on the topic. Below I have pasted the gist of the latest Exane note:

Shell/BG Group worries

Risk arbitrageurs (otherwise known as the hedge funds that bet on takeover deals) have been getting increasingly nervous about Shell's £43 billion bid for BG Group following a series of bearish articles on the transaction by my old employer, The Telegraph Media Group, publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph.

I expect those worries to transform into full scale paranoia after The Times decided to follow the Telegraph's lead and publish a news story (re?) quoting Ian McVeigh's opposition to the mega deal.
If you don't recall, McVeigh of Jupiter Fund Management wrote a piece in The Sunday Telegraph a few weeks ago likening the transaction to Royal Bank of Scotland's disastrous acquisition of ABN Amro.

Monday 23 November 2015

Friday 20 November 2015

Squeaky bum time for Pathfinder Minerals - part 2

I'm presuming bums are getting particularly squeaky round at Pathfinder Minerals, the controversial mining company focused on Mozambique.

Readers might recall I did a piece in the summer about how auditors for Pathfinder Minerals had raised "going concern" issues at the company, which as far as I can see is now just a cash shell fighting over mining rights in Mozambique. Here is a link:

Thursday 19 November 2015

Hedgies get hot under the collar over Dialog deal - part 2

So, Arrowgrass appears to have got one over rival Elliott Advisers - it's just been announced that Dialog Semiconductor's purchase of Atmel has been approved.

Here is a link to the a Reuters piece on the news, which has just broken:

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners said to have hired bankers to sell International Energy Group

Apologies for the delayed posting Betavillers - I've got a bit of sore head as I was out hobnobbing with the great and the good of the British business world last night at a brilliant party.

Anyway, I'm sure you can read about that over the weekend. Back in the real world (or perhaps I should say Betaville world) I can "exclusively reveal" that I stumbled across this rather interesting little jackanory a few days ago.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Hedgies get hot under the collar over Dialog deal

It sounds like there is an almighty dusty up brewing between some of Britain and America's top hedge funds.

The potential row is over Dialog Semiconductor's takeover of US rival Atmel for $4.6 billion.

Monday 16 November 2015

RARE ALERT: Fagron said to have drawn interest from Cinven et al

I've been in two minds about writing on the Fagron auction. That's because there have been a lot of unsubstantiated (and possibly false) rumours going around the European markets in the last couple of weeks and as a result the stock has been volatile.

For readers unfamiliar with Fagron, it's a listed Belgian company that provides ingredients for pharmacies and hospitals. The business said last month that it had hired JP Morgan to carry out a strategic review after receiving several takeover approaches.

Back on Tip TV talking about IHS, BG Group and Fagron

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

Sunday review on a Monday

There were a couple of stories that caught my eye in yesterday's Sunday newspaper business sections.

Oliver Shah's Prufrock item in The Sunday Times on Guy Hands's global restaurant preferences drew a wry smile, particularly as the financier's taste in eateries didn't appear to be particularly good.

Thursday 12 November 2015

Revealed: Argus Media Group appoints bankers to carry out sale of up to £1 billion - part 3

It was only yesterday that I broke the story about Argus Media Group but already the names of serious buyers of the energy data business are coming out of the woodwork.

Indeed, I understand several private equity firms have a strong interest in Argus Media Group, such as Hellman & Friedman, which has an established track record in the sector having previously invested in Wood Mackenzie, the commodities research and publishing group.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Revealed: Argus Media Group appoints bankers to carry out sale of up to £1 billion - part 2

It's always great when a scoop is formally confirmed by the company involved. Here is a statement that has just been released by Argus Media Group following my piece from earlier today:

Argus Media statement
11 November 2015
Argus Media today confirmed that it has appointed financial advisers to review strategic options for the next phase of its development as a leading provider of pricing information to global commodity markets.

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

Argus Media Group, the publishing company that sets world energy prices, could be about to change hands for up to £1 billion.

According to well-placed sources, Argus Media Group has begun working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch on a strategic review and contacted some of the City's top private equity firms to gauge their interest in the company.

Krafty 3G / Coincidence - part 3

Finally, SAB Miller announces a £70 billion plus recommended offer from Anheuser-Busch Inbev and confirms what I have been banging on about since the beginning of the year: that 2015 is the year ABI and 3G plan to bid for the FTSE 100 beer company. And in case you don't recall, here are links to some of my "exclusive" articles on the topic:

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Dubens's firm Oakley hungry for Ed's Easy Diner

Hip, high-end burgers - think Honest Burger, Dirty Burger and, possibly even, Byron Burger - are all the rage with British trendy, metropolitan types but it seems like the City's private equity firms are more interested in tired, old burger chain brands.

Indeed, I hear Oakley Capital, the private equity firm set up by entrepreneur Peter Dubens, has been participating in the £100 million auction for Ed's Easy Diner, which I used to visit in my teens.

Friday 6 November 2015

Introducing Europe's "best" activist investor

Fortune magazine recently declared it Europe's "best" activist investor. That's Cevian Capital, the investment firm in which Lord Myners, the former Labour City minister, is a partner. Here is a link the Fortune magazine article:

It's M&A Friday!

Hat tip to Russell Lynch over The Evening Standard who just delivered a brilliant scoop about ICAP and Tullett Prebon holding merger talks of their broking businesses. Here are links to Russell's story and also the confirmation:

Wednesday 4 November 2015


Here is a random thought for the day.

Whilst ruminating on the fact that SAB Miller and Anheuser-Busch Inbev asked for a second extension to the Takeover Panel's put-up or shut up deadline, I started to wonder: what was that Veja story in June about 3G weighing a multibillion takeover bid for Diageo all about?

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Tuesday review - part 2

I should have mentioned this piece from the Financial Times - - in my earlier post.

It's bit of "old" news (the fact that Pfizer approached GlaxoSmithKline before Allergan) that hadn't made into the public domain. But as it has been shown here on little old Betaville, "old" news can often become "new" news, so in the right circumstances is definitely worth reporting. Hat tip, then, to the raft of FT hacks who discovered the "old" news.

Tuesday review

I thought I would do a little newspaper review on a Tuesday as there were plenty of brilliant stories knocking about in the British business sections today.

First of, I would just like to congratulate my old mate Graham "Ruddy" Ruddick - a former colleague from my time at The Daily Telegraph and one of the nicest chaps in financial journalism - for landing a story about healthcare group Four Seasons of the front page of the main book, yes the main book, of The Guardian. Here is a link to Graham's piece:

Monday 2 November 2015

Back on Tip TV talking about Marks & Spencer, British American Tobacco and Dyax

Here is a link to today's Tip TV clip with the mixmaster Moose (AKA Nick Batsford).

Dyax takeover rumour confirmed!

I take a lot of stick from readers, rival hacks and viewers of Tip TV when I talk about some of the more speculative bid stories towards the end of my segment.

However, it does seem worthwhile for viewers of the programme, especially when the the tale gets confirmed. For example, today FTSE 100-listed Shire said it is buying Dyax Corporation for almost $6 billion.

Flag pole alert - part 2

I guess it was worth raising the flag pole over the latest British American Tobacco for Imperial Tobacco rumour given the recent UK press coverage.

And I have been given some extra colour (attached with a RARE disclaimer) on the situation.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Buying Britain

There weren't too many deal scoops in the Sunday newspapers this weekend. But that's the way it goes in UK M&A journalism; sometimes reporters get a flurry of mega exclusives and then things dry up for a while.

Still, there was one piece that caught my eye: Oliver Shah's interview with Yuan Yafei, the new (ish) proprietor of House of Fraser. That's because it's not often a Chinese business heavyweight goes on the record with a UK newspaper - and he comes across as a somewhat colourful, hard-working but eccentric character in the well-written piece. Here is a link to Oliver's article:

Thursday 29 October 2015

Flag pole alert

Anyone heard the one about British American Tobacco going for Imperial Tobacco?

It's been run up the flagpole several times in recent weeks in the British newspaper stock market reports.

The stock market report

I have to admit I relished reading the stock market report in the The Times today as it was written by the deputy city editor, Simon English. Here is a link:

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Big scoop from the WSJ - Pfizer in $300 billion merger talks with Allergan

Yes - you read the headline correctly.

When you wake up this morning, you might want to check out this cracking tale from the venerable Wall Street Journal:

Woodford said to be increasing his stake in Allied Minds - part 3

I see uber fund manager Neil Woodford, of Woodford Investment Management, has increased his stake in FTSE 250-listed Allied Minds to 28.03pc - as predicted/suggested by little old Betaville a few weeks ago.

Here is a link to this morning's RNS statement -

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Bank rows - part 3

Regular readers of this blog know that I like to hang around some of London's courts as it's a great place to pick up tales about dusts ups that involve City characters, institutions and dealmakers.

And one court that has proved to be a particularly fertile environment for City hacks is Southwark Crown Court. In fact, there has rarely been a day over the last couple of months that the allegations being heard at Southwark haven't featured in British national newspapers.

Monday 26 October 2015

Back on Tip TV talking about Aberdeen, Legal & General and Shire

Sorry for the delay but here is a link to this morning's session on Tip TV.

Revealed: Saudi Arabian diplomat takes legal action over £25 million for 'missing skyscraper'

A high-level Saudi Arabian diplomat has taken Credit Suisse and the mystery Irish property developer Tom Ryan to London's commercial courts after allegedly providing around £25 million to build a 74-storey residential skyscraper in Canary Wharf, London's financial district.

Dr Mohammed Abdulraman Abdulaziz Albesher, currently the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, is trying to recover £25 million from Ryan and his bankers at Credit Suisse after the developer's property scheme for the Hertsmere House site in Canary Wharf failed to get off the ground, according to the Particulars of Claim seen by Betaville.

Sunday 25 October 2015

FT reveals Aberdeen Asset Management on the block - part 2

mmmm - just had an interesting conversation with a "person familiar with the matter" who claims Aberdeen is "not in talks with anyone" about a sale to a rival.

That's bit of a non-denial, off-the-record denial (so not much of a denial, I guess) but the person also insists Aberdeen hasn't approached any rivals about a sale of the business.

FT reveals Aberdeen Asset Management on the block

The Financial Times has just pumped out this rather good - if it turns out to be true - tale about Aberdeen Asset Management approaching potential buyers about a sale of the fund giant.

Here is a link:

Friday 23 October 2015

"flawed rugby tactic"

Simon English's business commentary column in The Times had me in stitches this morning, particularly the final item about "flawed rugby tactic".

English, deputy city editor of The Times, is almost as witty, acerbic and incisive as his colleague Alistair Osborne, a former boss of mine during my time at The Daily Telegraph, and currently chief business commentator of The Times.

Wednesday 21 October 2015


I guess it was worthwhile re-visiting on Monday the tale about Credit Suisse's upcoming cash call and potential acquisitions, such as Julius Baer, on Tip TV and little old Betaville. In case you haven't seen, the Swiss bank revealed to the market this morning that it plans to raise $6.3 billion in fresh capital and dropped some pretty big hints it may look at acquisitions of domestic rivals.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Chinese whispers

So, I have done some digging into Kleinman's tale from last week about China Media Capital backing  Stephen Ross's takeover of Formula One. If you missed that story, here it is:

Friday 16 October 2015

First Vinci, then Hochtief - what next for the Qataris? - part 2

Kleinman has just unearthed an interesting tale about China Media Capital pursuing an $8.5 billion takeover of Formula One from CVC Capital Partners.

Thursday 15 October 2015

First round bids for Government's chemist expected next week...

Here's an interesting snippet regarding a takeover situation I wrote about for the Mail on Sunday in August.

I understand the £700 million auction for LGC - which acts the British Government's chemist - is about kick off in earnest.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

First Vinci, then Hochtief - what next for the Qataris?

So, the Qataris have raised almost a EURO 1 billion in the last week by selling stakes in European construction companies Vinci and Hochtief.

This begs the question: why is the sovereign wealth fund selling given it has been a buyer of European assets in recent years?

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Krafty 3G / Coincidence? - part 2

I'm a little surprised SAB Miller rolled over and accepted a £44.00 a share takeover from Anheuser-Busch Inbev.

I thought the FTSE 100 beer company would hold out for between £45.00 to £50.00 a share...

Monday 12 October 2015

Qatar disposes of Hochtief stake; what next for the sovereign wealth fund?

The Qataris sold a slug of French construction company Vinci last week.

Tonight, the gulf state's sovereign wealth fund decided to offload 7 million shares in Hochtief, the German construction company.

Woodford said to be increasing his stake in Allied Minds; squeaky bum time for short sellers? - part 2

I'm glad to see that little old Betaville's story from last Friday about Neil Woodford increasing his stake in Allied Minds has been confirmed on the regulatory news service this afternoon.

Indeed, it would appear Woodford Investment Management, Woodford's new firm, has taken its stake in FTSE 250-listed Allied Minds from 23pc to just over 27pc.

Back on Tip TV talking about SAB Miller, Radius Health and Dyax

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

Friday 9 October 2015

Woodford said to be increasing his stake in Allied Minds; squeaky bum time for short sellers?

Here is an interesting tale about Allied Minds, a UK-listed business that recently came under attack from short sellers Kerrisdale Capital, a New York-based hedge fund.

In case you don't remember the back story, have a look at this FT Alphaville article:

Thursday 8 October 2015

Krafty 3G / Coincidence?

Anheuser-Busch Inbev's latest press release made me chuckle.

Why? Well, back in February when I wrote in the Mail on Sunday that 3G and ABI were looking at SAB Miller I was told the boys from Brazil were weighing making an approach pitched at £45.00 a share but had the firepower to go all the way up to £50.00 a share. And back then SAB Miller's shares were trading around the £36.00 level. Here is a link to that piece:

Another brilliant Alex Masterley cartoon...

The Daily Telegraph's Alex cartoon made me laugh this morning. It's also spot on (as in factually accurate).

I can't quite find the link to today's section but if you have a spare moment during lunch, it's well worth reading.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Qatar sells Vinci stake; what next for the sovereign wealth fund? -part 2

The Times business section also thinks there is something afoot with the Qatar sovereign wealth fund and published an excellent double page spread in today's section.

In case you missed it, here is a link:

Another Betaville scoop confirmed!

I realise the "big" news this morning is the decision by Anheuser-Busch Inbev to announce its £42.15 a share/£68 billion offer for SAB Miller to the London market.

But I would just like to point out that another one of little old Betaville's scoopettes has finally been been confirmed - only it slipped under the radar as I never received the formal press release (not sure why, perhaps LDC's PR advisers don't like me very much).

Tuesday 6 October 2015

When "old" news becomes new news... - part 2

Readers probably don't recall that almost exactly a year ago I wrote this article:

One of the key points of last year's piece was to highlight that APR Energy, the power generator company, had hired Barclays to carry out a "strategic review" following interest from several private firms despite "people familiar with the matter" claiming Barclays wasn't "currently" working with the company etc etc etc.

Monday 5 October 2015

Qatar sells Vinci stake; what next for the sovereign wealth fund?

This evening it emerged Qatar is selling 1.1pc of French construction company Vinci to raise around EURO 380 million - and the move is causing quite the frisson in London markets.

Why? Well, the Qataris own big stakes in Glencore and Volkswagen, so market participants are speculating the gas rich gulf country will use the cash from the Vinci sale to finance (potential?) equity fundraisings from both these beleaguered companies.

Back on Tip TV talking about Glencore, Imperial Tobacco, Radius Health, Imagination Technology and Eros International

Moose and Zak decided to get together to take me on this morning. Here is a link to today's show:

Bank rows - part 2 - Lloyds settles with John Argent?

The Lloyds versus John Argent tribunal that was due to start this morning has been scrapped, according to my court mole.

In case you don't recall, last Friday I highlighted how a slew of Libor cases - criminal, civil and employment related - were scheduled to start over the coming weeks and cause the banks a headache.

Sunday 4 October 2015

A late Sunday review

The papers couldn't get enough of Glencore this weekend. No surprise, I guess, given the commodity group's travails last week.

One story that did pique my interest was The Sunday Telegraph's front page item about how Glencore "would listen to offers for a takeover of the entire company". I'm not quite what to infer from the piece. Still, in case you missed it, here is a link:

Friday 2 October 2015

Bank rows

Are Britain's banks past the the worst of their fines and punishments following the financial crisis?

Well, it would appear so, according to Dutch information provider Wolters Kluwer.

Friday stuff

It struck me this morning while reading the The Times that it really is an excellent publication packed full of interesting jackanories.

I particularly enjoyed Dom Walsh's analysis piece on city grandee and SAB chairman Jan du Plessis, the curious tale about the Chinese looking to develop a replica version of Longleat in China and Kaya Burgess's amusing diary column about what Ed Miliband's spinners did next.

Thursday 1 October 2015


What do Crispin Odey, the quintessentially English upper class hedge fund manager, and Kate Moss's hairdresser have in common?

I imagine not a lot - but it would appear they both like to grab lunch at Scott's, the uber upmarket restaurant that is owned by billionaire restauranteur Richard Caring, on a sunny late summer's day.

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Constituency engagement

I was slightly surprised to see Chuka Umunna, the former Labour business bod, wondering down Oxford Street (for foreign readers this one of London's biggest shopping boulevards) as I returned from another sumptuous lunch in Mayfair yesterday.

In fact, I had to double take to make sure it was the articulate and erudite MP for Streatham given it was the Labour party conference in Brighton yesterday.

Sunday 27 September 2015

Sunday review

The Sunday Times was packed full of juicy stories. I was particularly interested in Peter Evans's piece on the SAB Miller takeover situation.

In case you missed it, here is a link:

Thursday 24 September 2015

Pizza deals

Tucked away in the back of the The Times business section yesterday was a nib (journalistic parlance for a smaller filler piece in the sidebar) that piqued my interest - apparently Soho House Group has sold a 50pc stake in the London-based Pizza East chain to a mystery unnamed investor.

Now, some readers might be scratching their heads, wondering why I care about such a small, private deal.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Coincidence? - part 6

Apologies for the delayed post Betavillers - I have been out and about all day.

Anyway, here is a little snippet on the SAB Miller situation - apparently the equity research department of investment bank Goldman Sachs, recently appointed as adviser to the FTSE 100 company, was today "restricted" on the Molson Coors Brewing Company, which has joint venture with SAB Miller in the US.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Burmese Business - part 3

Shares in MySQUAR, the Burmese social media platform, have taken a bit of battering since the company floated on London's Alternative Investment Market in late Spring this year - like most stocks exposed to emerging markets.

However, I have a piece of good news for those observers that follow the company. I understand Facebook has decided to support MySQUAR and its app MyCHAT with up to $80,000 in free services and tools.

Back on Tip TV talking about Debenhams, SAB Miller, Imagination Technologies, Standard Chartered and Lanxess - part 2

I see German chemicals company Lanxess has announced a deal to sell a stake in its German rubber division to Saudi Arabia's Aramco in a deal that values the unit at $3.1 billion.

Lucky I mentioned something was afoot with Lanxess during yesterday's session on Tip TV (although admittedly I didn't quite nail the story in all its gory detail)...

Sunday 20 September 2015

SAB Miller said to have formally appointed Goldman Sachs as defence adviser; speculation in talks with Diageo

Here is a juicy jackanory to set your pulses racing on a Monday morning.

I hear from top sources that SAB Miller has formally appointed heavyweight investment bankers from Goldman Sachs as defence advisers alongside uber grandee dealmakers Simon Robey and Simon Warshaw, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Cazenove.

Saturday 19 September 2015

Top of the market? - part 2

I was hoping to revisit the "top of the market" theme once things calmed down this weekend but it would appear Lina Saigol, the Companies Editor at the Financial Times, has beaten me to the punch (this often happened to me when I was a cub M&A reporter at the The Daily Telegraph in the mid-noughties).

Her column today in the Financial Times echoes what I have been thinking all week: the last time Anheuser-Busch Inbev lot and their backers at 3G pulled the trigger on a mega deal it was pretty much the top of the last bull market.

Friday 18 September 2015

Coincidence? - part 5

Apologies dear readers for banging on about this ad nauseam but I see Bloomberg revealed this evening that Anheuser-Busch Inbev "reached out" to Altria, SAB Miller's largest shareholder, before the Brazlian brewer's approach to the FTSE 100 company was announced on Wednesday.

So, it would appear the latest Bloomberg tale reinforces my argument from last night that it was crucial for little old Betaville to be the first news outlet on Tuesday afternoon to report the rumours about Altria cancelling its attendance at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference and the renewed speculation about a takeover bid for SAB Miller.

AA Osborne on top form, again...

Acerbic Alistair Osborne really made me laugh this morning after I woke up in a bit of a grump (Twitter followers might understand why).

Alistair's lead item his column in the The Times on the Fed non-event was spot on and had me in stitches as I drank my morning cappuccino. Here is a link to his brilliant and amusing prose:

Thursday 17 September 2015

Coincidence? - part 4

Here is a highly amusing tweet from Ed Hammond at Bloomberg:

I will strawpedo an entire keg of Beck's if any news outlet can produce a "scoop" predating SAB's public statement on ABI's approach

I'm presuming Ed - who is one of the best M&A reporters on the deal reporting circuit and, I'm told by sources, is a top bloke - hasn't seen Bryce Elder's stock market report in the Financial Times on Wednesday morning or, indeed, my blog posting on Tuesday afternoon on little old Betaville regarding the speculation ABI is about to pounce on SAB Miller.

Coincidence? - part 3

Navel-gazing in financial journalism is reaching a new high.

Indeed, yesterday evening Bloomberg carried out its own investigation into why SAB Miller was forced to stick out a takeover announcement regarding a $250 billion tie-up with Anheuser-Busch InBev. Here is a link:

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Coincidence? - part 2 - CORRECTED

Quelle surprise - Anheuser-Busch Inbev, the world's largest brewer, has finally coughed up to what I have been banging on about for the whole of 2015. That ABI wants to buy SAB Miller, the maker of Peroni and Grolsch, for almost £75 billion (that's a rough figure by the way).

Hacks over at the Financial Times are claiming to have triggered an announcement from SAB Miller. Apparently, the FTSE 100 beer giant shoved out an announcement this morning before the Pink' Un could publish following enquiries from the venerable newspaper's intrepid journos about the brewer receiving a takeover approach from ABI.

Tuesday 15 September 2015


SAB Miller shares are sharply up this afternoon - almost 4pc at pixel time.

Some readers might be wondering why.

Monday 14 September 2015

Back on Tip TV talking about Hunting, Shire and M&A in the Lloyd's of London market

I got the opportunity to apologise to the charming Zak Mir for my irritability on the show a couple of weeks ago.

If your interested, click on the link below. Oh - and I also cover some of the stories from the weekend press and rumours doing the rounds on a Monday morning.

ECI pulls sale of Reed & Mackay; focus on growing US business

It would appear the sale of Reed & Mackay, the corporate travel agent favoured by some of the City's most prestigious firms, has been called off.

I'm hearing from good sources ECI Partners, the private equity firm that owns Reed & Mackay, has pulled the auction after appointing bankers from NM Rothschild to run a sale process to raise £100 million.

Friday 11 September 2015

Village gossip - dealmakers' digest to be sold to, er ... a dealmaking firm - part 2

It sounds like the sale of Private Equity International, a publication favoured by many of the City's lawyers, bankers and buy-out executives, is moving towards completion.

Readers might recall I wrote a piece back in July about how Lloyds Development Capital had emerged as the frontrunner to buy a stake in PEI, publisher of the Private Equity International, after advisers from Livingstone Partners were appointed to look at "strategic options". Here is a link:

Thursday 10 September 2015

PSP Investments and CPP said to be interested in London City Airport

London City Airport has already generated a fair degree of interest since it first emerged its owner Global Infrastructure Partners had put it up for sale for £2 billion a couple of months ago.

Indeed, it would appear three consortia have already emerged as likely bidders for the airport at the end of the Docklands Light Railway. Those consortia are:

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Top of the market? - part 1

Enough is enough - it's time to start a "top of the market" series.

Why? Because there was another clear sign today (in my humble opinion) that UK is in the midst of a raging bull market, which normally means the economy is peaking (give or take eighteen months).

Tuesday 8 September 2015

RARE Alert: Concordia Healthcare Corp said to be on the verge of a major deal - part 2

I'm glad to see Canadian pharma company Concordia Healthcare Group has finally confirmed my piece of juicy RARE from a few days ago with the announcement that it's spending $3.5 billion to buy Amdipharm Mercury from UK private equity firm Cinven.

In case you missed the announcement, here is the link:

Nikkei/FT land Amlin takeover scoop - part 2

So - Mitsui Sumitomo has announced this morning a £3.5 billion cash takeover offer for FTSE 250 insurer Amlin. Here is the link:

Monday 7 September 2015

Nikkei/FT land Amlin takeover scoop

It looks like the Nikkei's purchase of the Financial Times is working out well for both news outfits when it comes to landing M&A scoops.

The Japanese paper has just broken the story that FTSE 250-listed Lloyd's of London insurer Amlin is about to get taken over by Mitsui Sumitomo, and as a result the Pink' un is the the first to report the news over here in Blighty.

Back on Tip TV talking about Radius Health, Bwin and Blackberry

I might have been a bit irascible on Tip TV last week but Moose & Co invited me back for another session and I'm very grateful.

Here is a link to today's session:

Friday 4 September 2015

Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - part 5

Nils Pratley over at The Guardian today states Shire's attempt to buy US rival Baxalta is the "dullest $30 billion bid battle in history". Here is a link to Nils's excellent column:

Puzzling - part 3

I see Bwin's board has this morning switched its recommendation to a £1.1 billion offer from GVC. Here is a link to the press release:

I guess Bwin directors must have been reading little old Betaville earlier this week...

Thursday 3 September 2015

RARE Alert: Concordia Healthcare Corp said to be on the verge of a major deal

A juicy piece of RARE has just turned up.

I understand Canadian pharmaceutical company Concordia Healthcare Corp is closing in on a sizeable takeover deal.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Back on Tip TV talking about SAB Miller, Bwin and Aga Rangemaster

Here is a link to today's chat with Zak Mir about what's happening in the UK M&A market at the moment.

Puzzling - part 2

Dom Walsh had an interesting take in the Bwin bid battle situation in this morning's The Times, with GVC suggesting it could go hostile should the board stick to its recommendation of a lower offer from 888 Holdings.

Here is a link to Dom's piece:

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Alex back and in fine fettle

Great to see The Daily Telegraph's Alex Masterley cartoon back from holiday and on cracking form - today's piece really did make me chuckle. Here is a link to his brilliant cartoon:


I can't claim to have been following the Bwin bid battle between 888 and GVC in too much detail since it began in earnest a few months ago.

But today it would appear the Bwin board is sticking by its recommendation of 888's offer despite having received a higher takeover proposal from GVC.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Back on Tip TV talking about Diageo, Axa and Swiss deals

It's been a while since I have had the opportunity to have a chat with my old friend Zak Mir, so if your interested in catching up on we had to say about dealmaking during the recent stockmarket rout click on the link below:

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - part 4

This latest global stockmarket rout seems to have had little impact on the booming M&A market, with Betfair announcing a £5 billion merger with Paddy Power this morning and Schlumberger striking a deal to purchase Cameron International in the US for $14.8 billion.

Those deals come after RSA agreed a £5.6 billion sale to Switzerland's Zurich earlier this week.

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Zurich smoked out - part 2

Bryce Elder's comments about Zurich's takeover of RSA aired on FT Alphaville's markets live this morning made me chuckle - he really is a witty writer (well, much more amusing than me, at least).

One thing, though, Bryce hasn't touched upon, yet, is Dunbar and whether the RSA board has taken a hard look at Zurich's former banking arm in the UK.

Monday 24 August 2015

Something to take your mind of the China market rout - a Sunday review on a Monday

London-based investors, bankers and brokers are currently transfixed by the rout in Chinese markets.

So, I thought I would look back over some of the Sunday newspaper's business sections for those markets participant that might want to take their mind off crashing stockmarkets.

Friday 21 August 2015

August off?

So, the lads (and ladettes) over FT Alphaville duped me into thinking they had taken August off.

Clearly not! Yesterday, FT Alphaville landed another interesting story about a potential $6 billion takeover of a US-listed software company called Solera (Bloomberg also reported something similar around the same time). Here is the link:

Tuesday 18 August 2015

The Scottish entrepreneur, the premium gunmaker and the Turkish concrete firm

It's pretty quiet in the London market during the dog days of August, so I thought I would inform loyal readers about this little deal I stumbled across that involves the reclusive entrepreneur Dr Jim Hay, who heads one of Scotland's wealthiest families.

For readers unfamiliar with Dr Hay, he worked at BP for almost 30 years before founding JMH Group, a construction and lifestyle company whose upmarket brands include Saville Row taylor Bernard Weatherill, gunmaker Ray Ward and French hunting lodge Parc de Launay.

Back on Tip TV talking about Shire, Grainger and Stobart Group

Apologies for the delayed posting of the latest Tip TV session - I was travelling yesterday.

In case you missed the show, here are my views and insight on what came up in the UK Sunday business press last weekend:

Monday 17 August 2015

Quindell close to appointing Peel Hunt as broker; figures/accounts expected to be unveiled immently - part 3

Oh look - I see Quindell this morning has confirmed the other half of my story from a couple of weeks ago regarding Peel Hunt's imminent appointment as corporate adviser/broker.

In case you have missed the announcement, click on the link below:

Friday 14 August 2015

The twitterati on a quiet Friday afternoon in the London market during August

Dom Walsh over at The Times has been tweeting about the Bwin takeover tussle between 888 and GVC. Here is what the top leisure reporter has picked up:

888 Holdings appears to be having trouble syndicating a $600m loan for its Bwin bid amid uncertainty created by GVC's impending counterbid

Thursday 13 August 2015

3i said to have hired NM Rothschild to flog Element for up to a $1 billion

Here's an interesting snippet for those in the London market that follow 3i.

The listed private equity firm should see some cash coming in soon as I understand 3i has hired NM Rothschild to sell Element Materials Technology, a Dutch testing a business, for between $600 million and a $1 billion.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

The Heron, the residents association and the yuan

The London property market is a bit like marmite - you either can't get enough of it or you hate it.

If your in the latter camp, then don't bother to read this post. But if you are in the former, then check out this amusing tale.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

The Flying Scotsman is on fire...

It's a shame the boys - Bryce Elder and Paul Murphy - over at FT Alphaville's markets live have decided to take the summer off as they would have been able to bask in the glory of having another one of their stories confirmed.

US-based Shenandoah Telecommunications Company has finally announced it's buying Ntelos for $9.25 a share - exactly the same price Bryce Elder, who recently broke the story about Zurich weighing a £5 billion bid for RSA, mentioned in his scoop back in May.

Monday 10 August 2015

Betaville back from the Basque country; Stobart Group in focus

Apologies I wasn't able to do Tip TV this morning. I was returning from the Basque country, where I spent the weekend scoffing delicious dishes, such as cod omelette, and quaffing local cider, wine and beer.

In fact, if you like consuming food and wine/cider/beer and enjoy beautiful cities, I highly recommend visiting this north east corner of Spain and south west corner of France.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Village gossip - Former Financial News owner lambasts SNP's economic policies; considers quitting Scotland

Whilst scurrying around in the undergrowth I stumbled across this rather interesting letter to the Scottish National Party from Angus MacDonald, the former proprietor of Financial News.

Angus - a proud Highlander who gave me one of my first jobs back when I was fresh faced graduate in the early noughties - has taken the unusual (for him, at least) step of airing some fairly strident views on the Scottish National Party's economic policies. The former Army man also says he is considering selling his house and re-locating down south.

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Quindell close to appointing Peel Hunt as broker; figures/accounts expected to be unveiled immently

Loyal readers have probably been wondering when Quindell - whose shares have been suspended for the last few weeks following an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority - will come back to the market.

Well, I understand Quindell is on the verge of making Peel Hunt its broker.

Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - part 3

I have just returned from a jolly nice lunch with an investment banker chum to discover that Shire has launched a $30 billion hostile takeover for US rival Baxalta - wow!

Here is a link to the press release:

Monday 3 August 2015

Back on Tip TV talking about Shire, InterContinential Hotels Group and RSA

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

(p.s. ignore the headline on the clip as it's a bit out of date because Tip TV are moving onto a new website platform).

Friday 31 July 2015

Titbits for the weekend

Apologies for the tardiness of this post but I have been attempting to gather some news today.

Anyway, I read with a keen interest the piece on the front page of Financial Times about Celgene's $7 billion acquisition of Receptos and the detail surrounding the sale process. I guess it helps back up the idea that perhaps I wasn't talking nonsense after all during some of those recent sessions on Tip TV.

Hotel Buzz - part 5

So, the venerable Financial Times has gone big this morning on its Starwood/InterContinental Hotels merger tale, running it as the main story in its Company & Markets section. The story is carefully written, implying talks were held, it's early days and something may or may not happen etc. However, the fact that the Pink 'Un has given it some welly this morning implies FT hacks have properly stood this one up.

Meanwhile, the rest of this morning's newspaper business sections have chosen to ignore the tale after IHG put a denial statement, saying it isn't in talks with Starwood about a combination (although I still don't quite understand why the London-listed company hasn't disseminated the statement via the UK RNS).

Thursday 30 July 2015

A Reed & Mackay update...

Wow - public market takeover deals are coming thick and fast this week, with another two announced this morning. They are: US-based Delphi Automotive's £1 billion purchase of cable maker HellermannTyton;  and Providence/WPP's £350 million approach for PR group Chime.

Given a lot of this week's bids have come from American companies (e.g. Honeywell/Elster), it would appear the Americans are really making hay while the dollar is strong.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Hotel Buzz - part 4

Interesting tweet from Dom Walsh over at The Times:

Merger speculation around Starwood/IHG tie-up gaining fresh impetus

I have been chasing this for the last month or so but couldn't stand it up. Perhaps somebody else can...

Another day, another M&A deal in the London market

The latest transaction will see property developer Quintain taken private for by US private equity group Lone Star for 122p a share or almost £700 million.

I am, though, getting seriously worried we could be reaching the peak of this latest bull market as the last time somebody tried take Quintain private it was literally to the top of the last bull/credit market.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Transaction Tuesday

Forget merger Monday, it's all about Transaction Tuesday. Indeed, there were four major deals announced in London this morning - they were:

1. Zurich considering a £5 billion plus takeover bid for RSA.

Zurich smoked out

Great to see old school stock market reporting (with a new school digital twist) from Bryce Elder at the Financial Times smoke out a FTSE 100 takeover bid. Surely it's time for a pay rise, Ed.

In case you weren't aware how this played out, here is a link to Bryce's market report:

Monday 27 July 2015

Village gossip - The Times hires The Sun's business editor

This seems to be pretty much an open secret among business hacks in London but in case you haven't heard I can exclusively reveal (I think) that Simon English, The Sun's business editor, is joining The Times to become deputy business editor.

I have to admit the chaps over at FT Alphaville alluded to Simon's departure from The Sun last week on markets live but I can add to their snippet he is joining The Times.

Back on Tip TV talking about Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and Quindell

I have been out and about all day catching up with a few old contacts, so apologies for the delayed posting of this morning's Tip TV session. Anyway, here is a link to today's session with Nick Batsford, aka The Moose.

Thursday 23 July 2015

Bloomberg reveals Pearson planning to sell FT - again! - part 5 / The Great Escape - part 2

So, it would appear Japanese outfit Nikkei has just bought the venerable Financial Times for $1.3 billion/£844 million. Here is a link to the press release:

Now I'm getting really worried we are somewhere near the top of this latest bull market!

Bloomberg reveals Pearson planning to sell the FT - again! - part 4

Hat tip to Bloomberg - FTSE 100-listed Pearson has just confirmed it is in "advanced discussions" about selling the Financial Times, which seems to have sent the UK media scene into a complete tailspin.

I guess, too, there is a lot of egg on face for most of the media commentariat (including me, perhaps), which dismissed the Bloomberg report from earlier in the week as just a re-hash of its story from a couple of years ago.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

The Great Escape

The chaps over at McQueen, an advisory boutique set up by a bunch of former HSBC bankers, have been bought by American rivals Houlihan Lokey.

I always worry when I see one of the City's boutique corporate finance firms sell to a US predator Why? Because it could be a sign that a bull market is somewhere near its peak.

Bloomberg reveals Pearson planning to sell the FT - again! - part 3

Michael Wolff wrote a particularly insightful piece on why Bloomberg has absolutely no need for a website/publishing arm.

Although the veteran US media commentator doesn't get into whether Pearson should be selling the Financial Times, I'm highlighting Wolf's analysis within the "Bloomberg reveals Pearson planning to the FT - again" series as I think its probably connected to that ongoing story.

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Bloomberg reveals Pearson planning to sell the FT - again! - part 2

Bloomberg's "scoop" about FTSE 100-listed Pearson weighing a sale of the Financial Times got short yesterday shift from City analysts, media commentators and investors.

For example, here is a piece from Roy Greenslade, The Guardian's media commentator, on the Bloomberg story:

Monday 20 July 2015


Huge hat tip to Dan Dunkley, the young M&A reporter over at The Sunday Times, for his story back in May about how Aveva was being circled by potential foreign predators. In case you don't recall, The Sunday Times ran the story on the front page (which means something in itself). Here is a link to the copy:

Bloomberg reveals Pearson planning to sell the FT - again!

Bloomberg has just "broken" the news that Pearson is weighing a £1 billion plus sale of the Pink' un. Here is a link to the Bloomberg exclusive:

Back on Tip TV talking about Aveva, Quindell, Receptos, Starwood and Tottenham Hotspur

It's a Monday, so I was back on Tip TV talking about deals, dealmakers and, er, a north London football club.

Here is a link to today's clip:

Thursday 16 July 2015

Squeaky bum time for Pathfinder Minerals

I try to stay away from chat rooms for day traders as they tend be full of conspiracy theories that are impossible to stand up (for journalists) and lose long-term investors money. But as we slip into the quiet period of the summer I thought I would cast my eye over some of the forums - and low and behold it would appear one reader has actually stumbled across a genuine story.

The tale involves Pathfinder Minerals, the Mozambique-based mining company at the centre of a bitter row between a local general and the company's management team.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

What a surprise: Receptos bought for over $7 billion

US pharma group Celgene last night agreed to pay more than $7 billion for Receptos, a biopharmaceutical company.

Now I realise Ed Hammond over at Bloomberg "broke" the story about a potential sale of Receptos several months ago - here is the link:

Tuesday 14 July 2015

RARE alert: Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - part 2

This (see below) well written interview with Shire chief executive Flemming Ornskov by the Wall Street Journal would appear to reinforce the idea that the FTSE 100-listed group is still on the hunt for a major acquisition - whether it be Actelion, BioMarin or another (US?) rival...

Friday 10 July 2015

RARE ALERT: Teva said be planning on submitting formal $43 billion takeover bid this weekend

Readers might be scratching their heads, wondering why Teva still hasn't announced a formal offer for rival pharmaceutical company Mylan despite reports from Bloomberg and the Financial Times this week revealing the Israeli company is was preparing to submit a formal offer of between $86 and $88 a share.

Here are links to the Bloomberg and Financial Times articles:

Thursday 9 July 2015

Village gossip - dealmakers' digest to be sold to, er ... a dealmaking firm

Revealed: Private Equity International is on the verge of being sold to - surprise, surprise - a private equity firm.

Readers might recall that back in March I revealed on little old Betaville that the publisher of Private Equity International, PEI, had hired advisers from Livingstone Partners to work on a sale of the business. Here is a link to that piece:

Wednesday 8 July 2015

RARE ALERT: Barclays could name CFO as new boss

Most of the London market is likely to be transfixed on the Budget.

However, over here in Betavilleland we like to get on with teasing out corporate stories while the Government overloads the financial reporting community with a ton of news.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

RARE ALERT: Inmarsat said to be working on US takeover deal

Regular viewers of my Tip TV slot will know that I have been working on a story involving London-listed Inmarsat, the satellite network operator.

Well, I haven't managed to completely get to the bottom of the story out but I think I am barking up the right tree, so here is the tale.

Monday 6 July 2015

Commentariat raise doubts over Formula One "vanity buyers" - part 2

Bernie Ecclestone, the boss of Formula One, has been echoing some of the points I raised on Friday afternoon in the sports sections of The Times and The Sunday Times this weekend. I wonder whether the octogenarian billionaire is a Betaville reader?  

Back on Tip TV talking about WellCare Health Plans Inc, BG Group and Inmarsat

I hope US readers had a good holiday weekend. Here is a link to today's Tip TV clip, in which I opine on the the wave of consolidation in the US health insurance market.

Friday 3 July 2015

Commentariat raise doubts over Formula One "vanity buyers"

I'm sure many Betaville readers will be watching British Grand Prix this weekend. So, do get in contact if you happen to spot a representative from any of the potential bidders, such as Qatar Sports Investments, circling Formula One in the VIP boxes. A cheeky photo of the Qataris at Silverstone wouldn't go amiss, too.

Or, perhaps the Qataris won't turn up after being outed in the Financial Times last week as potential suitor for Formula One by teaming up with American sports and property tycoon Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins? The Qataris and Ross were reported to be willing to pay between $7billion and $8 billion for Formula One.

Punters outraged after some spreadbetters mark Quindell positions at 30p a share; fears move could trigger share price crash when suspension is lifted - part 2

Following my last post, Jonathan Hufford, the MD of Spreadex, has been in touch to explain why the spreadbetting firm has had to mark positions in Quindell at 30p.

Hufford, who I have to say seems like a reasonable chap, explained that his clearing bank, Commerzbank, had marked Quindell stock at 0p.

Punters outraged after some spreadbetters mark Quindell positions at 30p a share; fears move could trigger share price crash when suspension is lifted

Stock market punters are up in arms after it emerged some of the spreadbetting firms have begun marking positions in embattled Quindell at just 30p a share.

For readers that don't recall, Aim-listed Quindell has had it shares suspended after the Financial Conduct Authority decided to investigate the company's accounts between 2013 and 2014.

Thursday 2 July 2015

Enders predicts Murdoch may bid for Sky, again...

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last 48 hours - I had to attend a few functions yesterday, including the Henley Royal Regatta. It was a fun event although the return train ride in a carriage whose air conditioning had broken down was not particularly pleasurable.

Anyway, I see that while I took a day off to enjoy a quintessentially British day out in Sahara-like conditions Enders Analysis, founded by Claire Enders, has been talking up the prospects of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox having another crack at Sky.

Tuesday 30 June 2015

Sunday review on a Tuesday

Apologies for the delayed Sunday newspaper review Betavillers - I was away this weekend.

Anyway, I see that The Sunday Times business section was once again packed with several juicy deal-related scoops, including Oliver Shah's piece on Grainger and Crystal Amber, which was confirmed yesterday by the property company.

Monday 29 June 2015

Back on Tip TV talking about Grainger, Sky and Severn Trent

Moose (aka Nick Batsford from Tip TV) and I had a good chat this morning. In case you are interested, here is a link to today's clip:

Thursday 25 June 2015

RARE ALERT: Daniel Stewart said to be close to raising £1 million via equity placing - part 2

I'm glad to see Daniel Stewart confirm my tale from last night. In case you had missed it, I have pasted the announcement from the stockbroker below.

Daniel Stewart Secs

Subscription to raise £1.2million

RNS Number : 2020R
Daniel Stewart Securities PLC
25 June 2015

Wednesday 24 June 2015

RARE ALERT: Daniel Stewart said to be close to raising £1 million via equity placing

Daniel Stewart's shares crashed around 30pc today to about 2p.

I'm presuming the news regarding Quindell hasn't helped sentiment around the stockbroker (for readers that don't recall, Rob Terry, the former boss of Quindell is one of the stockbroker's largest shareholders).

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Here is another surprise - Rob Terry buys stake in Imaginatik - part 3

Good to see Imaginatik finally confirm that Rob Terry's investment vehicle now owns 3pc of the company.

Readers might recall I revealed last Friday that Quob Park Estate had been building a shareholding in Imaginatik.

Back on Tip TV talking about Ladbrokes, Severn Trent and Imaginatik

The boys over at Tip TV invited me back on the show today to discuss the latest "goings-on" in the UK M&A market.

Here is a link to today's clip:

Burmese Business - part 2

Remember that little Burmese social media company I wrote about a few weeks ago. If not, here is a link to the piece I wrote on MySQUAR to jolt your memory:

Monday 22 June 2015

Here is another surprise - Rob Terry buys stake in Imaginatik - part 2

Imaginatik has leapt another 35pc this morning to trade up at almost 8p.

Here is what the company said this morning following my story from last week:

Friday 19 June 2015

Here is another surprise - Rob Terry buys stake in Imaginatik

Readers who follow London's micro cap stocks might be wondering why Imaginatik has leapt over 70pc today.

Well, I understand Quob Park Estate - the investment vehicle run by former Quindell boss Rob Terry - has begun building a sizeable stake in Imaginatik, whose market cap stands at almost £5 million.

Thursday 18 June 2015

What's on the radar? - part 3

The venerable Financial Times is now reporting that reinsurance giant Arch is weighing a multi-billion dollar takeover bid for Axis Capital, which is trying to merge with Partners Re as part of a $12 billion deal.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Now this is a surprise - Rob Terry buys massive stake in Daniel Stewart - part 5

Readers might recall that Daniel Stewart, the well-known City stockbroker, said yesterday it didn't know what was behind the recent share price gain of almost 50pc in the last week.

However, I have just picked up on the grapevine that Rob Terry - the former boss of Quindell and now one of Daniel Stewart's largest shareholders - was seen at the stockbroker's offices yesterday, having a meeting with chairman Peter Shea.

What's on the radar? - part 2

Insurer Axis Capital Holdings was in demand during yesterday's trading session in the US.

Axis's shares jumped as much as 6pc before settling a bit to close 4pc higher at around $57.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Now this is a surprise - Rob Terry buys massive stake in Daniel Stewart - part 4

Shares in Daniel Stewart are sharply up this morning, surging about 12pc at pixel time.

However, nobody appears to know why the stockbroker's stock is in such demand, including the company itself.

Monday 15 June 2015

What's on the radar?

Smith & Nephew, for a start.

Why? Because there is a growing expectation the US Federal Trade Commission will soon (possibly as early as this week) make up its mind on whether it will give the green light to Zimmer's purchase of rival Biomet for $13.4 billion.

Friday 12 June 2015

A Quindell update...

It's been a while since I have written anything on Quindell so I thought I would put together a piece for loyal Betaville readers and followers of the company.

Top sources tell me that Quindell - which recently completed the sale of its professional services division to Slater & Gordon for £640 million - has now received a takeover offer of between £20 million and £30 million for PT Health, a Canadian healthcare and rehabilitation services company.

Thursday 11 June 2015

Equity research

I see bankers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch were involved in helping the British government place some of its stake in the Royal Mail last night, raising around £750 million for taxpayers.

Funny that because I'm sure equity research boffins round Bank of America Merrill Lynch published an upbeat note the postal service operator just a few days ago, upgrading the stock to "overweight" and raising its target price from £5.00 to £6.00.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Fosun said to have approached Alleghany about buying division/s; Swiss Re also believed to be circling US insurance group - part 2

I see The Insurance Insider is backing up one of my tales from a couple of weeks ago.

Readers might recall I wrote that Chinese group Fosun and insurance giant Swiss Re had both been sniffing around Alleghany after the US group hired Goldman Sachs to advise on strategic options. Here is a link to that piece:

Friday 5 June 2015

BOOM: Bloomberg reporting Liberty Global in talks with Vodafone about $200 billion plus merger - part 2

Apologies - I would have posted earlier but I have been out all day.

Anyway, I see Vodafone has responded to Bloomberg's story from last night about the FTSE 100 telecoms giant being in talks with Jon Malone's Liberty Global about a $200 billion plus merger.

Thursday 4 June 2015

BOOM: Bloomberg reporting Liberty Global in talks with Vodafone about $200 billion plus merger

Yes - Bloomberg is reporting tonight what I have written in the headline. Here is a link to the Bloomie story:

Roche back in the market for deals, according to dealReporter; no comment re BioMarin and PTC Therapeutics

Avid followers of the dealmaking frenzy in the pharmaceutical sector might want to take a look at piece on Roche Holding published a few days ago by dealReporter.

The "intelligence" service got some good quotes from Roche chief financial officer Alan Hippe, who told dealReporter that the Swiss pharmaceutical giant is still/back in the market for acquisitions in areas that don't overlap with existing drug development plans/pipelines.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Evonik Industries said to have lined up multi-billion EURO/CHF debt financing package for acquisition deal; Clariant primary takeover target

Clariant's shares were down almost 5pc yesterday after Evonik's largest shareholder appeared to shoot down the likelihood of the German company making a move on the Swiss chemicals group.

Here is a link to the Bloomberg piece on the topic:

Tuesday 2 June 2015

RARE ALERT: Evonik said to have rekindled EURO 25 billion merger with Royal DSM - part 5

As I suspected, Cash magazine has got the wrong end of the stick.

Today's weakness in Clariant's shares can largely be pinned to comments from Evonik's biggest shareholder, who appears to be playing down a deal to reporters at Bloomberg.

RARE ALERT: Evonik said to have rekindled EURO 25 billion merger with Royal DSM - part 4

Swiss chemicals company Clariant is taking a bit of a pasting this morning - shares down almost 4pc - thanks to Cash magazine, the Swiss media group that once attempted a piss poor hatchet on me after I broke the story about the Agnelli's interest in buying a stake in Swiss Re.

Monday 1 June 2015

Back on Tip TV talking about chip deals, the WSJ and Pfizer/Cellectis/BioMarin

Apologies for the tardy posting - I have been out all day looking for jackanories.

Anyway, here is today's Tip TV clip with the my pal Nick "Moose" Batsford.

Friday 29 May 2015

RARE ALERT: Sonova Holding AG said to be working with M&A bankers to examine 'strategic options'; could lead to sale

In case you hadn't noticed, there is a pharmaceutical/healthcare dealmaking frenzy at the moment.

And the latest tale doing the rounds is about a Swiss hearing aid manufacturer Sonova, whose market capitalisation currently stands at CHF 10 billion (circa £7 billion).

Thursday 28 May 2015

Fosun said to have approached Alleghany about buying division/s; Swiss RE also believed to be circling US insurance group

I'm hearing from top sources that Fosun, the fast growing private Chinese conglomerate, is interested in buying parts of Alleghany Corporation, the US-listed insurance group.

Indeed, I have been told Fosun - which is run by entrepreneur Guo Gaungchang, often dubbed the 'Warren Buffett of the East' - has already expressed an interest in purchasing divisions of Alleghany.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

de-RARED: Microsoft said to be in the early stages of examining multi-billion dollar takeover bid for BlackBerry - part 3

I have decided to "de-RARE" or rather remove the RARE tag from my Microsoft/BlackBerry story/series after speaking to a few more decent sources about the tale.

Don't, however, get too excited. I still believe Microsoft is in the "early stages" of looking at BlackBerry with its bankers at Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.

Sunday 24 May 2015

Weekend review

It's always good to see little old Betaville's stories backed up by prestigious national newspapers.

Regular readers might be aware that a couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about how FTSE 100-listed insurer Legal & General had hired specialist advisory firm Campbell Lutyens to divest its private equity arm, LGV Capital, and the buy-out group's stakes in portfolio companies, such as Snow + Rock.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Saturday fun

I realise this isn't a business story but Hugo Rifkind's my week column in today's The Times made me chuckle. If your looking for a laugh over the weekend, Rifkind's column is definitely worth a read:

Friday 22 May 2015

RARE ALERT: Microsoft said to be in early stages of examining multi-billion takeover for bid for Blackberry - part 2

David Faber of CNBC fame has just released an interesting report on how Microsoft held $50 billion plus takeover talks with Salesforce in early May that eventually fizzled out over price. Here is a link to Faber's piece:

Thursday 21 May 2015

RARE ALERT: Evonik said to have rekindled EURO 25 billion merger with Royal DSM - part 3

Croda International's shares perked up 3pc in late afternoon trade after Reuters/ Digital Look reported Germany's Evonik may interested in the London-listed company.

Here is a link to the Digital Look report: