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.