Tuesday 24 November 2015

Shell/BG Group worries

Risk arbitrageurs (otherwise known as the hedge funds that bet on takeover deals) have been getting increasingly nervous about Shell's £43 billion bid for BG Group following a series of bearish articles on the transaction by my old employer, The Telegraph Media Group, publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph.

I expect those worries to transform into full scale paranoia after The Times decided to follow the Telegraph's lead and publish a news story (re?) quoting Ian McVeigh's opposition to the mega deal.
If you don't recall, McVeigh of Jupiter Fund Management wrote a piece in The Sunday Telegraph a few weeks ago likening the transaction to Royal Bank of Scotland's disastrous acquisition of ABN Amro.

Here is a link to The Times piece, written by the Robin Pagnamenta:


Whilst it's an excellent, well-researched article a couple of things in the piece struck me as rather unusual - not least the fact that Neil Passmore, the chief executive of Ian Hannam's boutique advisory outfit, is quoted on the record as saying:

"If it was a private or small cap deal then, as Shell, you would be looking at tabling a revised offer. It does no look like a deal you would strike today."

Wow - that's pretty brave of Passmore. In fact, I can't remember the last time a British corporate financier went on the record to talk about a live deal.

Passmore also says Shell's takeover was driven by "egos" of top executives. That's a case of the pot calling the kettle black given some of the characters involved at Hannam & Partners.



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