Thursday 31 March 2016

Quelle Surprise: Reuters reports £1 billion Argus Media Group sale is in the final stages

This story - - broke on Reuters this afternoon.

It pretty much regurgitates what I wrote earlier in the week but adds a couple more names to the final shortlist of bidders for Argus Media Group, the oil price information provider.

Wednesday 30 March 2016

Back on Tip TV talking about Whitbread, LSE and Actelion - part 2

There were a flurry of stories this evening about US pharmaceutical company Medivation hiring JP Morgan to field takeover offers.

From a quick glance at Twitter it appeared that BloombergReuters and CNBC in the US
were claiming to have the "sources familiar with the matter" backing the story up. So, Medivation's shares were sharply up in the aftermarket.

Top of the market of the (London housing) market? - part 7

Friends, readers and contacts who know me well know that I called the London property market right in 2007 (the last top) but ever since then I have called it wrong - as in, I still don't own a London residential property/house/flat.

So, for good reasons I have deliberately avoided prognosticating on what might happen with the London property market.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Argus Media Group appoints bankers to carry out sale of up to £1 billion - part 5

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days - I have been very busy scoffing chocolate over the long weekend.

Anyway, I'm back on the case this week and before I get round to breaking another earth shattering "exclusive" I thought I would share with loyal readers a little bit of gossip about the Argus Media Group sale.

Thursday 24 March 2016

That "own goal" gaffe

Much of the mainstream business press dubbed Mike Ashley's comments to The Times earlier this week as an "own goal" by the maverick entrepreneur and owner of Newcastle United (I'm pretty sure I saw at least two headlines containing "own goal").

That's because Sports Direct's shares tanked about 10pc (they are down another 3pc today) after Ashley spilled the beans to the intrepid hackette at The Times about a potential profit warning.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Confirmations, confirmations and confirmations for, er, little old Betaville

I see Watkin Jones has this morning issued a statement about its listing on AIM, which saw the Welsh property developer raise £131 million.

Here is a link to today's statement:

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Apple in/out talks with Imagination Technologies

Hat tip to Ars Technica, the tech blog, for breaking the news about Apple's interest in purchasing Imagination Technologies, which sent the shares up 18pc during this morning's trading session.

Ars Technica broke the story 10 hours ago - - but the buffers round at Takeover Panel have taken almost all of the UK trading day to get Apple to make a statement about its intentions for chip designer Imagination Technologies.

Monday 21 March 2016

Watkin Jones to hit London's public market soon...

It sounds like the Welsh student accommodation developer's initial public offering is set for lift off.

Watkin Jones announced its intention to float earlier this month -

Back on Tip TV talking about Whitbread, LSE and Actelion

Old Harrovian Zak was in the chair today, quizzing me about the weekend M&A stories and recent bid gossip. So, here is a link to today's Tip TV clip:

Friday 18 March 2016

Equity "research" on, er, little old Betaville

I see JP Morgan has decided to dedicate a piece of equity "research" to little old Betaville and the stories I have published following my tale from earlier in the week on Mead Johnson.

Whilst I'm flattered that I have caught the attention of one of the world's most powerful investment banks, I have to say the analysts' "research" about me and my stories is somewhat piss poor.

Thursday 17 March 2016

The acerbic commentator, the SFO and lingering investigations

The Serious Fraud Office took a bit of pasting yesterday in the British business press following it's move to close its criminal investigation into the $5 trillion-a-day global currency markets after two years of investigation.

Among the business commentariat, Alistair Osborne - a former boss and colleague during my time at The Daily Telegraph but now at the The Times - was being particularly acerbic towards the SFO, dubbing it the "seriously flawed office". Here is a link to Alistair's caustic column, which also raises some important points:

High Court sets aside default judgement obtained against Ryan Corp; claim expected to proceed before court, according to The Times

There is a good follow up in the The Times today about the Saudi Arabian diplomat who is suing Credit Suisse and Tom Ryan, the mystery Irish property developer, for the return of a £25 million investment in Hertsmere House, the scheme to develop a residential skyscraper in Canary Wharf.

Here is a link to the piece in The Times:

Wednesday 16 March 2016


Here's a curiosity - a quick look at the LSE / Deutsche Borse merger announcement shows that Lucas Van Praag has landed a rather juicy mandate as a PR advisor to the LSE on the £20 billion plus exchange tie-up.

I remember the ultra smooth Van Praag from the days when he was a chief spinmeister at Goldman Sachs. He had a tough job, especially after Rolling Stone magazine dubbed the investment bank as a giant "vampire squid". He would also frustrate some of my ex-colleagues something rotten. Nowadays, though, it would appear he runs a New York-based PR firm called Fitzroy Communications.

Monday 14 March 2016

Mead Johnson said to be working with Lazard following takeover interest from European food giants

The Mead Johnson bid tale is back.

Readers who follow Mead Johnson Nutrition, the US-listed baby formula manufacturer, might have grown somewhat weary - and possibly sceptical - about this particular takeover bid story. That's because the tale goes around the market every couple of years but is either denied or just fades away with little activity to back it up.

Friday 11 March 2016

Egg on face for Dragons as Tangle Teezer appoints Baird to handle multi-million pound takeover approaches

Sometimes in the world of business knock backs only strengthen your resolve to succeed.

That appears to be the case for Shaun Pulfrey, a former hairdresser. Back in 2007, he went onto to the Dragons' Den (the hit BBC TV programme) seeking £80,000 for a 15pc stake in Tangle Teezer, which makes hairbrushes to comb through knotted hair.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Mr Nobody

So, rival hacks and news organisations are mocking the FT's Burberry scoop on the Twittersphere following this morning's news from HSBC. Burberry shares are down about 7pc after the bank released a statement to the market that implies it's not holding a stake on behalf of a mystery investor looking to make a takeover bid. Here is the link:

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Some Burberry clues...

Hat tip to the Financial Times. The newspaper broke a great story yesterday evening about Burberry hiring Robey Warshaw to defend the company after a mystery investor built up a stake in the clothing brand via HSBC. 

Here is the link:

Sunday 6 March 2016

The Sunday review: an old mega deal rears its head again; and from predator to prey continues...

M&A stories are a bit like London buses. You wait around at the bus stop for one to arrive, it never comes but when it does another two buses arrive straight afterwards.

And so it's the case for The Sunday Telegraph, whose business section was plastered with deal scoops today following a few lean weeks.

Saturday 5 March 2016

An aspiring stockbroker hires...

Here is a rare piece of upbeat news for the City of London's stockbroking industry - I understand Zeus Capital has just hired Rob Collins as head of natural resources.

Zeus Capital advises on IPOs, private fundraising and other types of deals but has been looking to become a full service stockbroker by hiring staff and buying a rival with a market making capability.

Friday 4 March 2016

Mounties pension fund said to be sniffing around BBA Aviation - part 2

A rather nice person familiar with the matter has been in touch to point out that BBA Aviation's shares are only down about 20pc over the last twelve months if you take in the account the 6 for 5 rights issue that took place last September/October. Happy to set the record straight.

Here are the details of the rights issue:

Thursday 3 March 2016

Mounties pension fund said to be sniffing around BBA Aviation

PSP Investments has been circling BBA Aviation.

Good sources tell me PSP, a massive Canadian pension fund that looks after money for the Canadian mounted police, is in the early stages of examining a purchase of BBA Aviation.

From predator to prey... - part 2

So, loyal readers have got in touch following yesterday's item regarding the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's interest in buying Deutsche Borse to point out that there are clear, hard news reports about the former's interest in purchasing the latter.

Here is a link to what looks like a very well sourced Bloomberg piece from 2013:

Perhaps those people involved in the situation are on the money after all...?

Wednesday 2 March 2016

From predator to prey...

Most of today's coverage of ICE's confirmation of interest in the LSE focussed on how the owner of the New York Stock Exchange and rival Chicago Mercantile Exchange are weighing making counter offers for the London-listed company.

However, tucked away in the The Times splash is a line about how the Chicago Mercantile Exchange might go after Deutsche Borse, which is essentially trying to buy the LSE, instead of the UK exchange - yikes! Here is the link:

Tuesday 1 March 2016

The Times diary predicts Dobson to retire from Schroders; Helge Lund to BP next?

I seem to praising lots of rival journalists today - but credit where credit is due.

This time, The Times diary section, that day edited by Patrick Hosking, deserves to take a bow after suggesting in early February Michael Dobson, the veteran Schroders chief executive, was considering stepping down.

Tesco for Home Retail Group, according to The Times and the Financial Times

Tucked away at the back of the The Times market report is a surprising snippet on the Home Retail Group takeover situation.

According to The Times market report, Tesco - yes, Tesco - was sold off yesterday amid fears it's "putting in a rival bid" for Home Retail Group. Here is a link to the excellent report, written by Tom Knowles:

Quelle Surprise: ICE weighs counter bid for LSE

Bloomberg landed a good hit last night, revealing the ICE is working with Morgan Stanley on a counter offer for the LSE. Here is the link: