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.

Saturday review

Saturday, 21 January 2017, 10:36 am

Clearly today's newspapers are dominated by you know who.

However, there was one story in The Daily Telegraph's business section that caught my eye: Ashley Armstrong's piece on how Ranjit Boparan, the entrepreneur known as "The Chicken King", has received a takeover approach for Party Ring, the maker of Fox's Biscuits, from a mystery suitor...

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Fake denials

Thursday, 19 January 2017, 11:35 pm

A lot has been written about "fake news" over the last month so but how about ruminating on the growing amount of duff - or perhaps we should call them "fake" - denials.

Today, for example, French aerospace company Safran announced it is buying rival Zodiac Aerospace for EURO 8.5 billion...

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Today on ITV - part 2

Wednesday, 18 January 2017, 10:01 am

So, here is that curious piece of gossip about ITV I mentioned was I looking into earler in the week. However, to be up front and clear, this gossip really is RARE!

I have been told that back in early December a boutique broker called LionTree organised a big dinner in Denver, USA for a bunch of institutional investors that wanted to meet Liberty Global's management team, including chief executive Mike Fries...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, ITV

Emerald Investment Group in talks with C&C Group over Punch counter bid, according to The Times

Tuesday, 17 January 2017, 9:42 am

Dom Walsh, one of the best leisure reporters knocking about the UK national newspaper scence, had an intriguing line in his diary column in today's The Times about how Alan McIntosh's consortium hasn't given up on Punch is in talks with C&C Group, maker of Magners, to launch a joint rival bid for the pub company...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, C&C Group, Magners, the times

Top of the market? - the series returns...-part 3

Thursday, 12 January 2017, 11:52 pm

Regular readers will be aware that I have recently re-introduced the "top of the market?" series since the FTSE 100 index started to flirt with fresh all-time highs.

However, little old Betaville likes to give respected commentators with a completely different pespective an opportunity to air their views to provoke thought and debate among readers...

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0 comments | Tags: Hargreaves Lansdown, FTSE 100

Flag pole alert - the series returns - part 4

Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 1:36 pm

This announcement (see below) from Imperial Brands (formerly Imperial Tobacco) about a joint venture with China Tobacco has got a few market watchers all aflutter.

http://www.investegate.co.uk/imperial-brands-plc--imb-/rns/joint-venture/201701111300019232T/

One follower of the company described it as "massive news" likely to flush out the Japanese...

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Betaville backs British newspapers' call for repeal of Section 40 Crime and Courts Act

Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 9:48 am

Last year little old Betaville received its first threatening legal letter from a top City law firm, so I know what it's like to face a bully trying to suppress a good tale.

In fact, as a staff business journalist at The Daily Telegraph during the mid-noughties I received numerous legal warning letters and also one threat to injuct the whole newspaper (a potential disaster for a national publication)...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Section 40

Reuben Brothers approached about backing Emerald Investment Partners' rival Punch bid - sources

Monday, 9 January 2017, 6:39 pm

Britain's richest brothers, the Reuben Brothers, have held talks about backing Emerald Investment Partners' potential bid for pub operator Punch Taverns.

According to well-placed sources, Emerald has approached the billionaire Reuben Brothers about providing financial backing for its £400 million plus bid for Punch...

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Oak Furniture Land hires PricewaterhouseCoopers to review "strategic options" - sources

Friday, 6 January 2017, 3:00 pm

One of Britain's largest specialist furniture retailers could be about to sell a stake in the company as part of a deal that would value the business at around £400 million.

Betaville understands Oak Furniture Land has appointed advisers from PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out a "strategic review", which may lead to a sale of a minority or majority stake in the business...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville

Reuben Brothers weigh sale metal warehousing company; Chinese circling, again - sources

Thursday, 5 January 2017, 12:47 pm

The billionaire Reuben Brothers could be about to make another multi-million pound cash windfall from the sale of one of their businesses.

City sources the brothers are considering a sale of Metro International Trade Services, a metal warehousing company, after receiving approaches from potential buyers. I understand one of the purchasers is a mystery Chinese company...

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FT airs Axa and Generali merger rumours...

Tuesday, 3 January 2017, 8:59 pm

Here is something to liven up a cold January evening. Tucked away at the back of an FT analysis on dealmaking in the insurance industry is a rather intriguing line about how "rumours circulated through last year that two of the big European insurers - Axa and Generali - would try to get together".

That's the first time I have heard of that rumour for a while but perhaps Oliver Ralph, the insurance industry hack at the Financial Times, is/was more plugged in than me...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, AXA, Generali, FT, Financial Times

A New Year's question: will Michael Kors strike a deal in 2017?

Saturday, 31 December 2016, 4:50 pm

Now, there is a very good reason I posited a question in the headline. It's because I DON'T KNOW whether the well-known fashion brand and retailer Michael Kors will actually merge or sell itself.

However, here is what I do know: I have spent the best part of a couple months investigating a variety of takeover rumours about Michael Kors. Below is what I have have up with so far.....

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Michael Kors

Top of the market? - the series returns...-part 2

Saturday, 31 December 2016, 1:48 pm

It looks like I was barking up the right tree when I re-introduced my "top of the market?" series late last week.

Today, the The Times splashed its business section with a piece about how City analysts fear a major stockmarket sell off in 2017.

In case your interested, I have pasted a link below to the piece, which was written by my former colleague Katherine Griffiths, one of the hardest working hacks I had the pleasure to work with:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, the times

M&A round-up: FT says flurry of big deals fires M&A activity to second highest level since 2007 crisis but, er, The Times says M&A deals fall by half amid global trade fears

Friday, 30 December 2016, 10:52 am

It's that time of the year where the data providers go into a a bit of PR frenzy to convince M&A hacks to write stories to use their data for end-of-year round up pieces. It's also that time of the year when M&A hacks unlucky enough to find themselves still in the newsroom are scratching about for a half decent story idea after their boss has yelled at them for copy to fill large, blank spaces on their pages...

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Top of the market? - the series returns...

Thursday, 29 December 2016, 9:51 am

Apologies for the lack of posts Betavillers - I have a had a few (deserved?) days off enjoying the holidays.

Fear not, though, I'm now back in full force. Yes, while many of little old Betaville's competitors continue their merrymaking I'm back at my desk looking to break big stories, provide thoughtful insight and also crack a few jokes...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, FTSE 100

[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].