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:

Omnicare deal imminent?

Omnicare's shares spiked into the US close last night. I have been told the market will see a deal announcement soon regarding the US-listed pharmacy services company.

Indeed, in case you missed it, here is a Reuters piece on the topic. The news agency seems to think CVS Health Corp has won the auction:

Tuesday 19 May 2015

RARE ALERT: Evonik said to have rekindled interest in EURO 25 billion merger with Royal DSM - part 2

I see Evonik has been talking about M&A at the company's AGM today.

According to one of my stockbroker chums, Evonik's chief executive told investors: "We will keep a cool head and not go on any adventures" and "we intend to keep a clear head. [we] will not subject ourselves to any speculations."

Well, the German company might not want to hang around for too long as I have been told there is another suitor sniffing around Dutch rival DSM.


Sunday 17 May 2015

Sunday newspaper review

The Sunday Times is packed full of juicy deal stories thanks to upcoming star M&A reporter Daniel Dunkley.

Dan - who I have worked with while freelancing at Dow Jones/Private Equity News/Financial News a couple of years ago - reveals on the front page of The Sunday Times business section that online gaming company 888 Holdings has tabled a £1 billion counter bid for Bwin. Party Digital Entertainment. Here is a link to Dan's piece:

Friday 15 May 2015

RARE ALERT: Microsoft said to be in the early stages of examining multi-billion dollar takeover bid for BlackBerry

Wow - the RARE is coming in thick and fast today (see below).

I understand technology giant Microsoft has asked investment bankers to examine whether it should purchase BlackBerry, the device manufacturer.

RARE ALERT: Evonik said to have rekindled interest in EURO 25 billion merger with Royal DSM

I'm hearing acquisition-hungry Evonik Industries has shifted its gaze from Swiss rival Clariant back to Royal DSM, the Netherlands-based chemicals group.

In March, the Financial Times revealed that Evonik was considering a deal that would create a speciality chemicals company with a market value of about EURO 20 billion. Here is a link to the FT report:

Fireworks at Lloyds AGM - part 2

It turns out I was correct in predicting ample newspaper coverage dedicated to yesterday's AGM from Lloyds Banking Group.

Here is a link to James Hurley's piece in The Times with the detail of what happened at yesterday's AGM:

Thursday 14 May 2015

Fireworks at Lloyds AGM

Word reaches me this evening that the Lloyds Banking Group AGM was a fruity affair. Apparently, some chap called Keith Elliott, the owner of a company called Premier Motor Auctions, stood up and made some pretty punchy allegations.

I suspect we may be reading all about this in tomorrow's newspapers...

ECI said to be working with NM Rothschild on £100 million sale of Reed & Mackay

I see US private equity firm TPG Capital announced earlier today the £150 million acquisition of discount retailer Poundworld - click on the link for the full story:

Wednesday 13 May 2015

That email

Ping! An email arrives from a reader interested in the piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Deutsche Bank's $2.5 billion fine over interest rate manipulation. (Click on the link to remind yourself of the story -

I suspect this reader has a vested interest in the situation. Still, his email posits some valid questions, so I have pasted the main body below:

Juicy RAW

Bryce Elder, stock market reporter at The Financial Times, chucked out a juicy tale a couple of hours ago.

Here is a link to Bryce's report:

The dealmaker, the bank and the missing skyscraper return...

The row over the missing skyscraper has been rekindled.

Regular readers should remember the tale I ran last year about the mystery Irish "property developer" and his plans to build a £1 billion residential skyscraper in Canary Wharf called Hertsmere House. Here is a link to my original story:

Tuesday 12 May 2015

TMT Finance on the money again?

This article from obscure trade magazine TMT Finance - click on the link - seems to have got a few people in European stock markets excited about the possibility of a predator pouncing on Interxion now that its merger with Telecity has collapsed.

Monday 11 May 2015

Friday 8 May 2015

The double mansion tax party

I'm sure most (UK-based) readers have had enough of the general election by now but just thought I would see whether anybody knows which banker threw the "double mansion tax party" last night?

According to Harriet Agnew's excellent and amusing City Insider column in the Financial Times today, a senior City banker held the "double mansion tax" party at his "huge suburban mansion".

Thursday 7 May 2015

Krafty 3G - part ?

Dominic Walsh, veteran leisure industries reporter over at The Times, has got the market all aflutter after tweeting earlier this afternoon:

SABMiller shares up about 1.3 per cent amid - yes, you've guessed it - rumours of a £50-a-share bid from ABI, & 3G Capital

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Legal & General hires Campbell Lutyens to sell LGV Capital portfolio; deal close to completion

It sounds like FTSE 100 insurer Legal & General is on the verge of selling its private equity arm and stakes in several well-known retail outfits, such as outdoor clothing retailer Snow + Rock and bar chain Tiger Tiger.

Two years ago, Legal & General shocked the private equity market when it emerged the insurer decided it was not going to provide any more funding to LGV Capital, which was founded in 1986 and is one of Britain's oldest private equity firms. Here is a link to an article in The Sunday Times on the topic:

Tuesday 5 May 2015

RBS - it never rains but it pours...

It would appear things tend to all go wrong at once for taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland.

This morning James Hurley, an old Telegraph colleague, revealed on the front page of the business section in The Times that RBS was under pressure to strip companies of their assets to improve its balance sheet. Here is a link to James's piece:

Friday 1 May 2015

Village gossip - Amanda Staveley to pick up multi-million pound fee from Qatar's £1.4 billion Maybourne purchase

It never ceases to amaze me what you can learn from hanging out in hotel lobbies.

I have just picked up that PCP Capital Partners - the corporate finance firm set up by dealmaker Amanda Staveley - is in line for a multi-million pound cash windfall after advising the Qatar-backed Constellation Hotels on the £1.4 billion purchase of Claridges, the Connaught and the Berkeley.

Hotel Buzz - part 3

A friendly analyst has got in touch with his view on what the likely combinations are from the next round of consolidation in the hotel sector. I will list them below - to be clear, this is just his speculation...

1. Accor combining with either Marriott International or Whitbread