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.

Whirlpool prepares takeover of Arsenal sponsor Indesit

Monday, 24 March 2014, 4:15 pm

American giant Whirlpool is closing in on a Euro 2.3 billion acquisition of Indesit, an Italian home appliances company that sponsors Arsenal Football Club.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Whirlpool has already approached Indesit's largest shareholder, Fineldo, about a takeover deal. Fineldo is the investment vehicle for the Merloni family, which founded Indesit in 1975...

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Italian companies and their difficulty with the truth

Tuesday, 18 March 2014, 12:34 am

Interesting to see Pirelli and Rosneft announce this morning the Russian gas giant has acquired a significant stake in the tyre group's holding company.

Back in January I came across a story about Rosneft and Goldman Sachs's private equity unit teaming up to back a management buy-out of Pirelli.

I checked the story out with Rosneft, Goldman Sachs (neither of whom commented) and Pirelli's spokesperson, who vehemently denied to the tale...

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Why wrestling is important for Newcastle United

Friday, 14 March 2014, 1:00 am

Here is a tale about a potential US deal that may have significant implications for Newcastle United Football Club.

Good sources tell me the American cable group AMC Networks has been sniffing around World Wrestling Entertainment Inc, the US-listed company behind those wrestling programmes, such as Raw and Smackdown...

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Agnelli family said to be in talks to buy 20pc of Swiss Re

Wednesday, 12 March 2014, 2:44 pm

I think I might have landed another genuine scoop. Here it is:

I understand a trust controlled by Italy's Agnelli family has been holding talks with Swiss Re about buying a 20pc stake in the insurance giant worth up to 8bn Swiss Francs.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the Agnelli family trust is planning to buy the 20pc stake in Swiss Re by making a 'tender offer' to all shareholders with an agreement from the Swiss Re board...

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ING moves closer to Euro 8 billion float of its insurance arm

Monday, 10 March 2014, 11:33 pm

I hear one of the largest flotations in Europe is getting close to lift off.

ING, which was bailed out by the Dutch government after the financial crisis, confirmed earlier this year it has already appointed JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and, funnily enough, ING on a potential listing of its insurance business...

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Metso under the spotlight

Friday, 7 March 2014, 7:51 pm

A Finnish company called Metso has caught my eye.

Metso shares were up 5pc yesterday and are up another 1.5pc today (readers should be aware the stock crashed at the beginning of the year).

There has been vague talk doing the rounds all week that there is "something going on" with Metso
- which supplies technology to resources companies - although none of my sources seem to know precisely what...

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Aviva and its chief bottle washer

Thursday, 6 March 2014, 6:25 pm
Mark Wilson appears to be doing a good job with the turnaround of Aviva. 
At his first set of annual results, Mr Wilson this morning reported full-year profits of £2.2bn after tax in 2013 compared to a £2.9bn loss the previous year.

Mr Wilson also said the turnaround at the FTSE 100 insurer is 'intensifying'...

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AO.com's business card part 2

Thursday, 27 February 2014, 11:36 pm

I have just managed to obtain John Roberts's business card thanks to a loyal Betaville reader.

Mr Roberts is the chief executive AO.com and just made a cool £86m from the float of his online white goods retailer (good for him, by the way).

It's not a big, clear photo but it's an image nonetheless.

Here you go:

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Is SFR back on Vodafone's radar?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014, 11:35 pm

There is a peculiar theory (to be clear, this is just a rumour and not a genuine scoop like some of my previous posts) doing the rounds in the market. It goes something like this: Vodafone is interested in buying French telecoms company SFR back from Vivendi.
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AO.com's business card

Wednesday, 26 February 2014, 2:51 am

Can loyal Betaville readers get hold of, or take a picture of, the business card of John Roberts, the chief executive of AO.com?

AO.com is the appliances business that is due to imminently list on the London market with a valuation of almost £1.5bn.

I am told Mr Roberts's business card is rather amusing. If you do come across it, please email to betaville1@gmail.com...

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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].