Tuesday 31 March 2015

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

This is a bit of a turn up for the books: a Mr Rob Terry, I am presuming the founder and former CEO of Quindell, has just turned on the register of stockbroker Daniel Stewart with a 7.4pc shareholding (see the RNS) below. Daniel Stewart shares have leapt 325pc!

Monday 30 March 2015

Merger Monday...or not

A whole bunch of deals were announced today, with the US pharmaceutical industry witnessing another frenzied round of consolidation.

Indeed, Teva Pharmaceuticals is purchasing Auspex for around $3.5 billion, United Health Group is buying Catamaran Corp for $13.2 billion and Horizon Pharma has agreed to buy Hyperion Therapeutics for $866 million.

Quelle surprise: Quindell announces sale of its legal unit for almost £640 million to Slater & Gordon

I have been on the receiving end of some pretty unpleasant abuse - some of it, dare I say it, down right libellous - over the last couple of months for my series of scoops and scoopettes on Quindell's sale of its professional services division for £640 million to Slater & Gordon, the listed Australian law firm.

So, I was looking forward to the day when the actual deal is announced - in case you missed here is the link http://www.investegate.co.uk/quindell-plc--qpp-/rns/proposed-sale-of-professional-services-division/201503300705008060I/ - as I was planning on getting my own back in pixels on little old Betaville.

Back on Tip TV talking about Quindell, SAB Miller, BioMarin and Shire

There was plenty of backslapping (well, by myself at least) during my Tip TV slot this morning. Here is a link to today's clip: http://www.tiptv.co.uk/archives/mergers-and-acquisitions-4/

Sunday 29 March 2015

Aussie lawyers Slater & Gordon in exclusive talks to buy Quindell's legal services division - part 15

It sounds like Slater & Gordon's purchase of Quindell's legal services division for £640 million is about to be announced.

The Australian Financial Review is reporting Slater & Gordon is "poised to acquire the professional services division of British claims processor Quindell". Here is a link:

Sunday review - Krafty 3G, BHS and the French poacher turned gamekeeper

There are some excellent investigative features knocking around in today's business sections.

I particularly enjoyed Oliver Shah's piece in The Sunday Times on some of the murky characters behind the purchase of BHS from Sir Philip Green.

Thursday 26 March 2015

RARE alert: Shire said to be weighing "transformational" $65 billion merger with BioMarin Pharmaceutical

Perhaps I spoke (or wrote) to soon about Shire's next "transformational" deal taking a while to happen - see the link: http://betaville123.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/rare-alert-shires-next-deal-likely-to.html.

Top sources (and I mean top) tell me FTSE 100-listed Shire has set it sights on combining with BioMarin Pharmaceutical, a US-listed company that specialises in making therapies for people with extremely rare genetic diseases.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Krafty 3G - part 3

Interesting piece from Bloomberg on today's news about the 3G/Warren Buffet-backed $40 billion Heinz takeover of Kraft. Here is a link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-25/heinz-s-46-billion-kraft-bid-is-a-megadeal-without-a-megabank

Village gossip - dealmakers' digest goes on the block

Revealed: Private Equity International could be about to change hands for between £35million and £50 million.

I understand the company behind Private Equity International, PEI, has hired advisers from Livingstone Partners to look at "strategic options", which could result in a sale of the publishing, conferences and training business.

Krafty 3G - part 2

I see SAB Miller's shares are only down about 0.5pc despite today's announcement about the 3G-backed $40 billion Heinz takeover of Kraft.

Perhaps the market isn't dismissing the idea of an SAB Miller deal following today's news after all. I should have more on this situation later on the week, so keep an eye on Betaville.

Krafty 3G

I imagine SAB Miller's shares will be hit hard this morning as the Wall Street Journal revealed overnight that 3G, the fund managed by a group of Brazilian billionaires, is in talks to buy Kraft for more than $40 billion.

The newspaper claimed 3G is pursuing Kraft through Heinz, which it bought a couple of years ago, and is likely to merge both companies.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

The online gaming merry-go-round

The Daily Telegraph's Ashley Armstrong has just written an interesting piece on 888 Holdings, the online gaming company that recently saw takeover talks with William Hill fall apart.

The report quotes the company's executive chairman as saying that 888's main founding shareholders would be supportive of an all-share merger with another gaming company.

Here is a link to the piece:


I wonder which company 888's main shareholders would like the business to merge with?

Sunday 22 March 2015

Aussie lawyers Slater & Gordon in exclusive talks to buy Quindell's legal services division - part 14

I hope your having a good weekend Betavillers.

I have been getting a lot of questions (and a fair amount of abuse, too) in recent days about the Slater & Gordon/Quindell story I have been covering in the last few weeks.

Friday 20 March 2015

Market caps

I see Birmingham-based manufacturer IMI snuck its out announcement about the appointment of Lord Robert Smith of Kelvin as its new chairman on Budget day - a good day to release information when you don't want to pesky hacks to dig into your press release as newsrooms are overloaded with economic and political stories from the Chancellor. See the link:


Wednesday 18 March 2015

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

It's Budget day (here in the UK), so here is a piece of RARE that is completely unconnected to one of the busiest days in financial/political journalism.

I hear Shire's next deal is likely to be "transformational".

Tuesday 17 March 2015


The Times business section had a cracking front page today, with Gideon Spanier landing a juicy scoop about how The Mirror Group, publisher of The Daily Mirror, is trying to buy The Daily Express and The Daily Star from Richard Desmond.

Here is a link to Trinity Mirror's confirmation to The Times piece: http://www.investegate.co.uk/trinity-mirror-plc--tni-/rns/response-to-media-speculation/201503170927496347H/

Monday 16 March 2015

Aussie lawyers Slater & Gordon in exclusive talks to buy Quindell's legal services division - part 13

In case you missed them, here are today's/yesterday's statements from Quindell and Slater & Gordon.

Back on Tip TV talking about Holcim/Lafarge, TSB, Domino Printing, BHS and Quindell

I have received a fair few questions over the weekend about my piece on Quindell in The Sunday Times. So, I thought I would try to clear a couple of things up in my Tip TV slot this morning. If your interested in my explanation, click on the link below:


Sunday 15 March 2015

BHS individuals - part 2

It's still not clear who the "individuals" are behind the BHS deal despite the fact that several top Sunday newspaper business reporters had a good stab at trying to unveil their identities.

Ben Marlow's Rainmaker column in The Sunday Telegraph provided some more interesting detail on the backgrounds on the frontmen to the deal. Here is a link to the piece:

Friday 13 March 2015

BHS individuals

Looking over this morning's coverage of the BHS deal it's still not clear (to me, at least) who has actually bought the retail chain from Sir Philip Green.

Aside from the frontmen, reports suggest that Retail Acquisitions (the purchaser of BHS) is "backed by a group of eight to 10 individuals in different businesses, including oil and gas".

Thursday 12 March 2015

World domination (by ex-Telegraph journos)

Mark Kleinman over at Sky News appears to be on a bit of hot streak.

Kleinman, a former colleague/boss during my time at The Daily Telegraph / The Sunday Telegraph, has landed several big exclusives this week, including the £1 billion takeover bid for Domino Printing.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

The party is still on at Bwin...

It looks like Bwin Party Digital Entertainment is still talking to potential buyers despite some news outlets claiming a few weeks ago negotiations had collapsed and the deal was off.

In this morning's full-year results statement, Bwin Party Digital Entertainment says:

Tuesday 10 March 2015


Remember how the soaring Swiss franc skittled almost everyone in the City?

Traders and investors were left "reeling" in mid-January when Switzerland unexpectedly abandoned its currency ceiling against the Euro.

Friday 6 March 2015

Not another Weir Group story...

I have been getting a lot of calls this morning about Weir Group. Yes, Weir Group - the company that went berserk on me last year after I outed its interest in buying/merging with Finnish rival Metso.

Anyway, if I am completely honest I haven't heard anything recently about Weir Group, so I can't corroborate the gossip in the market about interest from a US private equity firm. If you are looking for the original source of the gossip I suggest reading the market reports from Geoff Foster or Oscar Williams-Grut.

Thursday 5 March 2015

Who's the mug, now

Ben Wright, one of the senior Telegraph business bods, has written a rather insightful and amusing comment piece on dealmaking entitled "when it comes to picking prices for buying and selling, we're all mugs". Here is the link:


Tuesday 3 March 2015

Another thing on SAB Miller.

I think I talked a bit about 3G and Warren Buffett on Monday on Tip TV, and how the sage of Omaha's comments about working with the Brazilian billionaires again had triggered another round of SAB Miller takeover speculation.

Well, now it looks like Bloomberg is getting on top of the story although the financial media behemoth is suggesting Kellogg is likely to be the next take-over target for the 3G and Buffett. Here is a link to the Bloomberg piece: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-03/buffett-s-plan-for-more-deals-with-3g-sparks-kellogg-talk?hootPostID=60721f7a20bdb2a0779fe6e827fc15fe


I was looking at my Linked In profile the other day and noticed that somebody from GDF-Suez UK has been stalking me on the social network.

I'm not quite sure why I have been stalked but the last piece I wrote that involved the French group was about the company rekindling its interest in Canadian oil company Talisman Energy.