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.