Thursday 31 December 2015

Geoff Foster goes big!

I see Geoff Foster has gone big on New Year's eve.

The veteran market reporter at The Daily Mail reveals in his final column of the year that Vodafone and US cable giant Liberty Global are likely to pursue a £140 billion merger in 2016 after talks were rekindled in the last few weeks.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

RARE alert: Reckitt Benckiser said to be working with Robey Warshaw on major deal

Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive of FTSE 100-listed Reckitt Benkiser, has been talking up the prospects of doing some major M&A in 2016.

Indeed, a few weeks ago Morgan Stanley analysts quoted Mr Kapoor as saying:

Sunday 27 December 2015

Sunday review

There weren't many big deal stories in the British Sunday business press today but I guess that's to be expected given the time of year.

Still, there was one decent tale that caught my eye - Daniel Dunkley's piece in The Sunday Times about the major shareholders in Aveva pushing for a sale following the collapse of the Schneider deal. Here is a link to Dan's piece:

Given Dan broke the original Aveva sale/ Schneider bid story earlier this year, it's clearly a situation worth keeping an eye on...

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Sunday review - part 3

There's still no formal statement from Comcast regarding ITV on a regulatory news service despite the US media company providing on-the-record denials to wire services.

Perhaps the well-spoken chaps over at Takeover Panel, the UK regulator for mergers and acquisitions, have knocked off for the year?

Top of the market? - part 4

The Times sports section had a great scoop this morning about a consortium of American investors closing in on a takeover of Everton Football Club. In case you missed it, here is a link to Rory Smith's story:

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Mitchells & Butlers said to be carrying out "full review"

Could pub and restaurant operator Mitchells & Butlers see significant structural change in 2016?

The shares, down about 12pc on the year, have lagged rivals Greene King, up 25pc over 2015, and Marston's, up 17 over the year.

Sunday review - part 2

Comcast gave some pretty punchy on-the-record quotes to Variety regarding its reported interest in ITV. Here is a link to the Variety piece: 

Monday 21 December 2015

Mega consortium comes together for London City Airport; China's HNA also rumoured to have submitted first round offer - part 3

This slipped under the radar yesterday thanks to some end-of-year merrymaking but I note that Ben Martin over at The Sunday Telegraph ran a story about a "mega consortium" coming together to mount a £2 billion bid for London City Airport.

Here is a link to Ben's piece:

Sunday 20 December 2015

Sunday review

I thought dealmaking in the UK was about to slow down until the New Year but today it would appear I may have been proved wrong.

Jon Rees, deputy business editor on the Mail on Sunday, reveals that Comcast, the US media giant, is weighing an £11 billion pound takeover bid for ITV after holding talks with the FTSE 100-listed broadcaster.

Friday 18 December 2015

Stryker returns?

The Stryker for Smith & Nephew rumour has returned roughly a year after Bloomberg was putting it about the market.

This time, though, the tale is being aired by The Street / (see below).

Thursday 17 December 2015

Mega consortium comes together for London City Airport; China's HNA also rumoured to have submitted first round offer - part 2

The Australian appears to have ripped off one my news lines (well, the one about Macquarie dropping out as a principal bidder) from the London City Airport story I published earlier this week.

It's not the first time the Aussie newspaper has done that with one of my stories although I have to admit it's been quite a while since the news outlet has flattered me in such a manner.

Lenigas said to be close to firing up super boiler - part 2

I see micro cap Inspirit Energy has essentially confirmed my tale from earlier in the week. In case you missed it, I have pasted the main thrust of this morning's press release below:

Inspirit, the London AIM (Ticker:INSP) quoted developer of 2 & 3kW electrical, 15kW thermal micro combined heat and power boilers, is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of operational testing on its first Inspirit Charger microCHP appliance for field trial use.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

RARE ALERT: Fagron said to have drawn interest from Cinven et al - part 2

I have taken a lot of stick since I published my original article on Fagron, the Belgian pharmaceutical company, a few weeks ago.

Despite the somewhat sceptical tone of my original piece, some readers/followers/friends have been ribbing me for writing about Cinven's interest in purchasing Fagron, especially as the company recently called off takeover talks with potential buyers, which sent the share price plummeting.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Shell / BG Group worries - part 3

There has been a lot of debate in the British financial press in recent weeks about whether Shell should press ahead with its multi-billion pound purchase of rival BG Group.

Ian McVeigh of Jupiter Fund Management has been particularly vocal in his opposition, likening the transaction to Royal Bank of Scotland's disastrous purchase of Dutch rival ABN Amro at the height of the credit boom. Read all about it here:

Monday 14 December 2015

Lenigas said to be close to firing up super boiler

Here's an interesting nugget about a little AIM-listed company chaired by one of the London market's most colourful dealmakers - David Lenigas.

The tale involves Inspirit Energy, which for the last few years has been developing a super efficient boiler that generates heat AND electricity.

Mega consortium comes together for London City Airport; China's HNA also rumoured to have submitted first round offer

I have a little update on the sale of every City dealmakers' favourite airport.

Ever since news of the £2 billion sale of London City airport broke in the Financial Times this summer bidders have been circling the asset.

Back on Tip TV talking about Fagron, Apache Corporation and Inspirit Energy

Here is a link to my last session on Tip TV until the New Year:

Friday 11 December 2015

Top of the market? - part 3

Equity, high yield debt and corporate bond markets might be tumbling today but there is one asset class that is flirting with levels not seen since the great credit boom of the mid-noughties - leveraged loans.

I'm hearing that some of the recent private equity deals, such as KKR's £900 million takeover of Government Chemist LGC, are being done on some pretty racy debt/leveraged loan multiples.

Flag pole alert - part 6

Bryce Elder's stock market report column in the Financial Times caught my eye this morning.

The intrepid hack led his column with a juicy market tale about how UBS - British American Tobacco's longstanding corporate broker and financial adviser - had decided to stop carrying out equity research on the tobacco sector despite recently poaching a top sector analyst from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Deals, deals of UK deals

Ping! Another email arrives containing a press release celebrating the fact that it's been a "record" year for global dealmaking. The latest missive comes from Deloitte, whose release is entitled:

Global M&A deal activity to top US $4 trillion this year, the highest value since 2007

I guess the bean counters round at Deloitte might be onto something. Yesterday, for example, it emerged Dow Chemical is in talks to combine with rival Du Pont as part of a $120 billion merger deal.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Dubens's firm Oakley hungry for Ed's Easy Diner - part 2

It would appear a takeover is Ed's Easy Diner (I'm not going to describe the chain as "tired" and "old" as last time the company spokesperson rang me to whinge so I will leave it the reader to decide what they think of the concept) is moving closer to completion.

According to well-placed sources, the Ed's Easy Diner sale process is entering the final stages and a £100 million deal could be announced in the next few weeks.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Quelle surprise: Bridgepoint sells former Government Chemist LGC

I'm glad to see Bridgepoint, the UK-based private equity firm, has finally confirmed it's sold LGC to US buy-out giant KKR.

Now, I'm not necessarily pleased for Bridgepoint, who I'm sure has made a ton of cash from its investment in LGC (from what I recall LGC was privatised for £3 million but the private equity firm was expected to sell it for between £700 million and £900 million). It's just good to see one of my stories - that was denied to me at the time of publication by the parties involved - has finally been confirmed.

Friday 4 December 2015

Sky's the limit - part 2

A lot has been made of the quote that James Murdoch gave to the Hollywood Reporter a few months ago.

Indeed, the quote appears to have triggered banker gossip - highlighted by the Financial Times yesterday - that perhaps the Murdochs/Fox are sellers of the 40pc stake in Sky.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Irish horse racing tycoons prepare to fire starting gun on sale of Marks & Spencer's juice maker

Do you remember Wellness Foods?

Well in case you don't, here is a little reminder. During the credit boom of the mid-noughties a group of Irish "tycoons" - said to include Denis Brosnan, formerly the boss of food company Kerry Group - backed Wellness via Switzerland-based Lydian Capital to consolidate Britain's health food market. So, Wellness set about gobbling up upmarket and sloaney food brands such as Dorset Cereals and Rowse Honey.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

The accountant, the tax avoidance scheme and the magazine

I have a little yarn that might cheer up freelance readers struggling to get their paperwork ready for January's tax returns.

The tale involves Deloitte, the accountancy giant, a multi-million pound tax avoidance scheme known as Icebreaker and an article in Tax Advisor Magazine.

Flag pole alert - part 4

It does now appear unlikely British American Tobacco will pounce on Imperial Tobacco given last night's BBC Panorama allegations. At least, I wouldn't expect a deal in the near future...