Sunday 31 January 2016

Weekend review on Sky, Home Retail Group, J Sainsbury, Slater & Gordon, Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group.

There is plenty to reflect on in the British business press this weekend.

First off, I note that the Financial Times has done a reverse ferret of its position on whether wiley old Rupert Murdoch will have another run at Sky.

Friday 29 January 2016

Quelle Surprise: Reuters reveals Brookfield is weighing $30 billion takeover of General Growth Properties

I would have done this post earlier but I have been sidetracked by, well, general larking about, including a jolly nice lunch with an old contact at Richard Caring's The Ivy, where I spotted Tory party supremo Lord Feldman chowing down.

Anyway, that's enough of the blatant name dropping. The point of this post is to highlight that Reuters last night picked up on my tip from earlier in the week on Tip TV about US property giant General Growth Properties.

RARE Alert: Reckitt Benckiser said to be working with Robey Warshaw on major deal - part 2

It's good to see little old Betaville's RARE story about Reckitt Benckiser followed up in the British stock market reports this morning.

Just over a month ago I wrote that Reckitt was working with (which is different to formally appointing) uber bankers at Robey Warshaw on a major deal. Here is a link to that piece:

Thursday 28 January 2016

More GSK rumours from the Twitterati - part 2

Should I be surprised how these random Twitter rumours get out of control? Probably not.

But there are some readers who are now claiming that little old Betaville is reporting Johnson & Johnson is weighing a bid for GlaxoSmithKline.

Burmese Business - part 4

It still never ceases to amaze me how quickly stocks fall in and out of fashion with investors, traders and market participants.

Indeed, the healthcare/ biotech sector has taken another serious pasting today following worse-than-expected figures from Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant. So, AstraZeneca is down 3pc today while Shire has fallen almost 5pc.

More GSK rumours from the Twitterati

Here's an interesting Tweet from Open Outcrier:

Hearing vague takeover chatter mentioning JNJ as acquirer. Unconfirmed market chatter.


If there is one thing that really irritates me it's being beaten to the punch by rival hacks on a story I had spent several days trying to stand up.

Yes, that does occasionally happen to me.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Shell/BG Group worries - part 5

I see Royal Dutch Shell's £35 billion purchase of BG Group has been approved by over 80pc of the  Anglo Dutch company's shareholders.

So I guess the Telegraph's recent scaremongering about the deal collapsing, led by Jupiter fund manager Ian McVeigh, was just, err, scaremongering....

Back on Tip TV talking about GlaxoSmithKline, Home Retail Group and General Growth Properties - part 2

There is an interesting piece in the The Times this morning about J Sainsbury's submitting a revised offer for Home Retail Group (I would paste the link but it doesn't seem to work).

The piece, written by my old boss Richard Fletcher, sort of echoes some of the things I talked about on Tip TV earlier in the week.

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Duben's firm Oakley hungry for Ed's Easy Diner - part 3

I have been wondering what happened to the Ed's Easy Diner sale process since I wrote my last piece about a potential deal "moving closer to completion". Here is a link to that article in case you haven't seen it:

Clearly, there has been no deal since I wrote that article in December 2015 and I pride myself in publishing accurate stories, so I have been investigating the situation.

Top of the market? - part 5

Stockmarkets around the world are taking another hammering this week, with the FTSE 100 down  1pc this morning after a major sell off in China.

So, I'm wondering whether the "top of the market" series I started on little old Betaville last summer highlighting several clear "top-of-the-market" indicators was a rather prescient warning for investors?

Sunday 24 January 2016

Sunday review

There were plenty of interesting stories in the Sunday newspaper business sections this weekend.

One tale, though, that caught my eye was the business splash of The Sunday Times.

Friday 22 January 2016

Lipin in the limelight

I'm not in the habit of giving Bloomberg much praise as the journalists that work there are pretty good at praising themselves.

However, I have to admit I rather enjoyed this - - from the mighty news outlet's M&A team.

Quelle Surprise: Sky News exclusively reveals HNA is working with Barclays on a £2 billion bid for London City Airport

I see Mark Kleinman, who I once had the pleasure of working for at The Sunday Telegraph, of Sky News has unearthed a rather interesting story about China's HNA Group working with Barclays on a multi-million takeover bid of London City Airport, the British dealmakers' favourite airport that has been put up for sale by its private equity owners.

Regular readers of little old Betaville won't be surprised to learn about HNA's interest in purchasing London City Airport. Why? Well, back in December 2015 Betaville revealed China's HNA had submitted a first round offer for London City Airport. In case you don't recall, here is the link to that story:

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Bears tuck into Avanti but...

Global stock markets have taken a right walloping over the last few months - in some cases indices are down 20pc from last year's highs - but there are a few stocks that are getting hit particularly hard.

One of the companies taking a major pounding is London-listed Avanti Communications, the satellite operator and broadband provider. The stock is down almost 12pc today and has crashed 55pc to 113p in the last three months despite a series of upbeat announcements, including client wins in Africa and a British government contract win to provide around 300,000 UK households who have suffered from rubbish internet from BT Group.

Kevin Spacey's Wisekey poised to seal deal with GEM - part 2

Oh look - I see Wisekey has confirmed my tale from yesterday about GEM making a multi-million dollar investment in the digital security company backed by Kevin Spacey.

Here is a link today's announcement regarding the deal, which appears to have been completed in Davos.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Kevin Spacey's Wisekey poised to seal deal with GEM

I guess little old Betaville wouldn't be a serious news outlet without at least one Davos-related scoopette on the blogsite.

Well, here is one tale involving the huge hobnobbing event: I understand that Wisekey - which is hosting a Cybersecurity roundtable at Davos tomorrow that includes the likes of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales - is on the verge of securing a multi-million pound investment from a New York-based private equity fund called GEM (also known as Global Emerging Markets).

Ramp up Tuesday

Many market participants this morning have been focussing on FTSE 250-listed online retailer Ocado, which saw its shares leap almost 20pc. I'm not commenting on that tale here but people who know me well know what I think of the jackanory.

I'm more interested in the fact two of Mitchells & Butlers largest shareholders have been quietly upping their stakes in the pub company despite the fact the shares last year performed terribly.

Friday 15 January 2016

Top hedgie lands role at venerable Takeover Panel.

Eyebrows were raised in the City after it emerged yesterday that Michael Herzog - a top hedge fund manager who specialises in placing big bets on takeover deals - is working for the Takeover Panel, the City's regulator of mergers & acquisitions.

Here is the link to yesterday's announcement (which as far as I can see hasn't been picked up in the mainstream business press)

Village gossip - a new City diary on the way

City diary columns have been on the wane during the current tough times for British newspapers, with some business sections getting rid of the column altogether.

Why? Well, it's a column that can often cause major legal (and possibly expensive) headaches for business editors, especially if the diary writer is good at his job. But a good diary writer can liven up a section with his/her mischief making and often stumbles across some incredible scoops for the front of the business section.

Thursday 14 January 2016

RARE Alert: Tesco's latest trading figures said to be "much" better than expected - part 2

It would appear my sources were bang on the money about Tesco's trading figures coming in "significantly" better than expected.

Tesco shares are up 6pc following the release of the supermarket group's 3rd quarter trading update:

Wednesday 13 January 2016

The maverick retailer, the upper class fund manager and ... spoof

James "Quinny" Quinn, the group business editor of The Daily Telegraph, has just published a rather good story about the urbane Crispin Odey upping his stake in Sports Direct to back over 5pc. Here is the link:

RARE Alert: Tesco's latest trading figures said to be "much" better than expected

I'm afraid I'm a bit light on M&A scoops today but here are few bits of juicy market RARE that I stumbled across whilst scurrying about in the undergrowth.

I'm hearing from good sources that Tesco is poised to unveil "significantly" better-than-expected festive period trading figures, so keep an eye on the tape tomorrow morning for an upbeat statement from the supermarket giant.

4 into 3 or 6 into 5?

Ben Marlow's comment piece in today's The Daily Telegraph is worth a read.

Marlow - a former colleague from time as a cub reporter at and a top hack - makes some interesting points about Britain's beleaguered supermarket sector and the potential for consolidation. In case you missed Marlow's article, here is the link:

Monday 11 January 2016

Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - the end?

I see that London-listed Shire has finally formally announced its £22 billion takeover of US rival Baxalta.

Perhaps it's time to start a new series about another FTSE 100 pharmaceutical company's plans to pursue a "transformational" deal?

So, keep an eye on little old Betaville later this week...

Sunday 10 January 2016

Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - part 7

I had been wondering what happened to Shire's takeover of Baxalta after Bloomberg reported last weekend that the deal was expected to be announced last week.

Could there be a spanner in the works?

Thursday 7 January 2016

Deals, deals, deals - part 2

My old boss Richard "Fletch" Fletcher, now business editor of The Times, has just landed a rather interesting scoop about Sir Terry Leahy and US buy-out firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CDR) weighing a counter bid for Home Retail Group.

Here is the link:

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Deals, deals, deals...

Well that didn't take long - dealmaking (in the UK, at least) is back in full flow.

And I guess my chums Oliver Shah and Daniel Dunkley of The Sunday Times deserve some credit for today's news about J Sainsbury's £1 billion bid for Home Retail Group.

Monday 4 January 2016

Mining mergers

The Australian Financial Review has written a rather peculiar but interesting comment piece arguing Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton should merge.

Here is a link to the article:

Sunday 3 January 2016

Shire's next deal could be "transformational" - part 6

It would appear the "dullest $30 billion bid battle in history" is drawing to a close.

Bloomberg yesterday reported that Shire and Baxalta could announce a deal, partly funded by cash, this week. Here is a link to the Bloomberg article:

Saturday 2 January 2016

Shell/ BG Group worries - part 4

Wow - Ian McVeigh of Jupiter Fund Management has written another column in The Sunday Telegraph criticising Royal Dutch Shell's £40 billion purchase of BG Group.

In case you missed it, here is the link: