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.