A cheeky website about deals, dealmakers and anything else I find interesting. Edited by Ben Harrington. If you have a tip or want to discuss a story please feel free to email Betaville at ben@betaville.co.uk. Betaville can also be reached at Whats App, Signal or Telegram. Betaville's Twitter handle is @bharringtonw11 and you can message me via Twitter with stories.

The strange goings-on with Thomas Cook's debt...

Monday, 17 June 2019, 7:34 am

Last week there was a report on Bloomberg that some of the lenders to Thomas Cook had begun offloading the company’s debt amid fears about the company’s financial position.

According to Bloomberg, lenders holding around £300 million of Thomas Cook's debt were contacting potential buyers and brokers about selling some of the debt at half its current market value...

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Teneo in the headlines...

Friday, 14 June 2019, 9:59 am

Two weeks ago financial and political public relations firm Teneo hit the headlines after the boss of its London office issued a warning to employees about "pooing in the shower", leaving their messy underwear for the cleaner to pick up and throwing up on the company carpets. Below is a link to the peice broken on Guido Fawkes and the follow up in the The Times: ..

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Where have all the "locusts" gone...?

Thursday, 13 June 2019, 9:13 am

"Locusts!" That's how the German establishment dubbed private equity firms looking for deals in the country a decade ago.

Wind on ten years and KKR - the American buy-out firm lionised in the seminal book Barbarians At The Gate - is backing a $8 billion leveraged buy-out of Axel Springer.

Yet, as far Betaville can see, none of the German establishment have objected to such a "locust" taking control of one Germany's largest media companies...

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Betaville Intelligence

UNCOOKED ALERT: Just Group said to ...

Monday, 10 June 2019, 3:29 pm

Shareholders in Just Group, the London-listed financial services company, have begun applying pressure on the company to realise value from the business via a strategic review.

People claiming to be famliliar with the matter said some investors in Just Group, which specialises in selling retirement income, have indicated to the company that they believe business should be sold to a buyer after the company's shares crashed from 170p to around 45p over the last six months...

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Sunday review - United Technologies, Raytheon and Helical Bar

Sunday, 9 June 2019, 5:01 pm

Forget about merger Monday; big takeover scoops are being broken on the weekends these days.

Hat tip to Cara Lombardo - the newish M&A reporter on the venerable Wall Street Journal - who landed what is probably the M&A scoop of the year on Saturday afternoon with a humdinger of a tale about United Technologies Corporation holding advanced talks about a $160 billion merger with smaller rival Raytheon.

Wow!..

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Spence backs Boris, Gover and, er, Hunt...

Friday, 7 June 2019, 5:43 am

To the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington, London, where Financial News (one of Betaville's former employers) held its Trading and Technology awards.

And who should be there to pick up a "Lifetime Achievment" award last night?

Well, it was multi-millionaire tycoon Michael Spencer, founder of interdealer broker Icap/NEX group and former Tory party treasurer supremo...

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Betaville Intelligence

RARE ALERT: Dods Group said to ...

Wednesday, 5 June 2019, 8:02 pm

Dods Group, the publisher of The House, PoliticsHome and Dod's Parliamentary Companion, is said to be working on a major M&A transaction.

Some people claiming to be familiar with the matter speculated Dods Group - in which Baron Ashcroft, former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, is the largest shareholder - may be looking to combine with Merit Group, a bespoke software and business intelligence company...

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The retail tycoon, the birthday and the private members' club

Tuesday, 4 June 2019, 4:12 pm

Which retail tycoon is this week holding his birthday celebrations at a private club on Berkeley Square that he owns?

Well, that will be Richard Caring, according to Betaville's moles, who have informed me that Annabel's is being readied for a rather large soiree to celebrate the billionaire's birthday.

I wonder, though, whether another high-profile retail tycoon and business partner will be attending the bash?..

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Confirmations, confirmations and more confirmations, again...- Pathfinder Minerals and Cypress Semiconductors

Monday, 3 June 2019, 9:26 pm

Betaville was pleased to see a couple of his recent jackanories confirmed today as it keeps the naysayers on the back foot.

In case you missed it, Aim-listed Pathfinder Minerals released a statement in which it effectively confirmed "media speculation" first aired on Betaville and then followed up in the Mail on Sunday's Stockwatch column this weekend. I have pasted a link below and also the salient paragraph in the statement from Pathfinder Minerals:..

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Tesla should be takeover target for a European car maker, Apple or private equity, argues Telegraph writer

Saturday, 1 June 2019, 2:35 pm

Sitting in the office on a sunny Saturday afternoon gave Betaville a bit of time to go through the newspapers properly - and in doing so I stumbled across this rather fantastical column in The Daily Telegraph by Matthew Lynn.

In a piece entitled "Time for someone in Europe to step up and snap up Tesla" Lynn dedicates a whole column to the idea that Tesla - the controversial car company led by even more controversial Elon Musk - should be bought...

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Betaville Intelligence

RARE ALERT: Acadia Healthcare said to ... - Part 7

Friday, 31 May 2019, 8:34 am

Another day, another confirmation for little old Betaville.

This time Debbie Osteen, the new (ish) chief executive of American firm Acadia Healthcare, confirmed last night on the record that the company has formally begun a "strategic review" of The Priory Group, the rehab centre well-known for treating British celebs, such as Kate Moss.

Below is a link to the Nashville Business Journal, which captured the on-the-record quotes from Osteen:..

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The broker, the former employees and the row

Thursday, 30 May 2019, 9:58 am

A date for the diary: city brokerage Vantage Capital Markets is being dragged to the High Court next week to defend a six figure claim brought by two former employees.

John Thitchener and Gavin Masters are suing VCM for losses they say they suffered after the company refused to pay them out under a partnership agreement...

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A Cypress Semiconductor update: company said to be working with Goldman Sachs on strategic options; three private equity firms circling - sources - The Series Returns

Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 5:10 pm

I see Betaville's rivals at Bloomberg have just revealed that Cypress Semiconductors is weighing a sale after receiving takeover interest. Below is a link to the Bloomie piece broken this afternoon:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-29/cypress-semi-said-to-mull-sale-after-getting-takeover-interest..

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The British business hack and the £27 billion European mega-merger...

Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:50 am

The British aren't exactly popular on the continent at the moment thanks to the interminable Brexit negotiations.

There is, though, one Brit who has had a hand shaping one of the largest Franco-Italian corporate mergers of 2019.

Baroness Wheatcroft of Blackheath, also known as Patience Wheathcroft, is a non executive director of Fiat Chrysler, which this weekend was outed by the Financial Times as in merger discussions with France's Renault...

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Overseas rival said to be eyeing FTSE 100-listed Centrica, suggests The Sunday Times

Sunday, 26 May 2019, 11:34 am

Tucked away in the middle of The Sunday Times business section is a rather intriguing line in Oliver Shah's excellent commentary column.

"With Centrica’s shares trading at 92.8p, a price also reminiscent of another era (they last sunk to that level in the late 1990s), City scuttlebutt suggests at least one overseas rival is eyeing the FTSE 100 stalwart with a view to gaining a foothold in the British market."..

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[Disclaimer - the information on Betaville does not consitute any form of investment recommendation and is not intended to be relied upon by readers in making, or refraining from, any investment decisions].