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 email@example.com.
There has been plenty of coverage about Wesfarmers/Bunnings disastrous acquisition of Homebase over the last couple of days - and how the Aussies tend to mess up major British acquisitions (think back to Slater & Gordon's £673 million purchase of Quindell).
But just as Homebase was being sold to Hilco for a £1 another Australian-listed company was quietly completing an audacious raid on a London-based business - John Guest, the widget manufacturer set up in 1961...
The company that prints magazines for Vogue publisher Conde Nast is set to change hands after its private equity owners appointed investment banking advisers to weigh strategic options for the business.
According to sources claiming to be familiar with the matter, Rutland Partners - the buy-out firm that recently sold Pizza Hut UK to Pricoa for £100 million - has hired bankers from NM Rothschild to examine a sale or float of Walstead Investments. ..
The predator stalking Capital & Counties Properties since late last year is said to be closing in on the property developer.
According to sources claiming to be familiar with the matter, the potential buyers interested in the beleguered London-based developer are said to be on the verge of formalising a proposal for some or all of the FTSE 250-listed business...
The venerable Financial Times landed a cracking scoop overnight about Barclays explorer a merger with Standard Chartered. I have pasted the link below:
It looks like a well-researched piece: there are three by-lines, including one from Patrick Jenkins, a very senior FT hack who has been covering banks for years...
Ping! A marketing document arrives from Odey Wealth, which as far as I can work out is the private client division for charming Crispin's hedge fund group.
Anyway, the letter is entitled: "The Tide is Turning". Does that ring any bells?
It goes on to say:..
Reliance Worldwide Corporation, the Australian plumbing equipment manfacturer, is in advanced talks to buy privately-owned UK-based John Guest for £500 million.
According to sources claiming to be familiar with the matter, Reliance Worldwide Corporation (RWC) - which is listed in Australia - beat off competition from several private equity firms, including US-based AEA Investors, for John Guest...
This is pretty unusual: publishing company Quarto has just announced that its chairman was thrown off the board at the company's Annual Meeting today.
Peter Read and 3 other non-executive directors were voted off and will be replaced by founder and 20pc shareholder Dr Laurence Orbach, Mr Chuk Kin Lau, Ms Mei Lan Lam and Mick Mousley, former chief financial officer of Quarto.
After 31 instalments to this long-running saga it would appear Betaville is able to finally answer the question posed in headline: yes, the tide is turning for charming Crispin.
According to the sports pages (hedge fund parlance for the HSBC fund performance rankings), it would appear the flagship Odey European Fund is one of the best performers in Europe this year, rising 17.07pc so far...
REVEALED: David Cameron lined up for a senior role with at ex Morgan Stanley banker's Greensill Capital
Here is a juicy snippet: David Cameron, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, is said to be in talks to join Lex Greensill's financial services group.
According to sources claiming to be familiar with the matter, Mr Cameron has been holding discussions with Mr Greensill over the last twelve months about working for his firm in a senior advisory role...
The deals are coming thick and fast in this febrile M&A market.
Indeed, Betaville undestands Travel Counsellors, a travel agent that uses 1700 "freelance advisers", is close to being sold to Vitruvian Partners for around £250 million.
Vitruvian Partners has previously backed Just Eat, Farfetch and Skyscanner...
Oh look - ITE has announced it is buying Ascential's exhibitions business for £300 million. Below is the press release:
Have you ever heard of the Chandaria family?
Well, Betaville hadn't until he started investigating a story about one of the companies owned by family - Emtelle, a pipe and cable manufacturer.
Anyway, it turns out the Chandarias are serious players but somewhat secretive with holdings companies in Panama, Luxembourg and Switzerland...
Goodbye Richard Segal, non-executive chairman of On The Beach Group. It emerged yesterday he is moving on from the holiday booking firm after five years as non-executive chairman.
Good riddance is all Betaville can say.
That's because Segal went beserko after Betaville got hold of a legimate story about the company hiring NM Rothschild as a "defence advisor" last year...
Exane BNP Paribas are jumping on the Wienerberger bid talk band wagon by adding it to its "M&A targets list". I guess that's not exactly a surprise given Betaville noted activist Petrus had turned up on the shareholder register of the Austrian brickmaker last week.
The other company the broker is touting as a target is, wait for it...ITV. Betaville has pasted some of the note below.....
Oh look - Clydesdale Bank has finally made a takeover approach for Virgin Money, saying it submitted an offer for the challenger bank on May 7 (yesterday).
That comes after a rather prescient comment piece by Iain Dey, the outgoing business editor of The Sunday Times. Below is a link to Iain's article:..
[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].