The Wall Street Journal reports that Crispin's letter to investors show his flagship long/short European Fund is down 10pc for July. Below is the link the WSJ piece:
Posts tagged: betaville
Remember Betaville's tale about how Deloitte had got itself in a bit of a pickle after one of its top bean counters publicly criticised the Icebreaker tax avoidance scheme that the firm itself was defending in the British commercial courts?
Click on the link below if you don't:..
It would appear little old Betaville's missive on Michael Kor's dealmaking intentions from late December was barking up the right tree after all.
In case you don't recall, little old Betaville published this controversial (I say controversial because I had quite a reaction to it from some readers) piece back on New Year's eve:..
It sounds like Oak Furniture Land, one of Britain's largest furniture retailers, is edging towards a deal to sell a stake in the £400 million business.
Readers might recall I wrote this piece - https://www.betaville.co.uk/news/oak-furniture-land-hires-pricewaterhousecoopers-to-review-strategic-options-sources/ - back in January 2017...
Charming hedgie Crispin Odey is still struggling to turn things around at his Odey European Fund. According to the latest hedge fund rankings from HSBC, the Brexiteer's flagship fund is down just over 6.19pc for the year to date...
I see US-based Sandwich maker AdvancePierre Foods and Tyson Foods have just announced a deal that will the latter buy the former for $4.2 billion.
News of the deal won't come as a surprise to subscribers of the Betaville Intelligence platform as last week's RARE story on AdvancePierre Foods highlighted how the company is likely to be involved in an imminent M&A transaction.
In case you missed it, here is a link to the Betaville Intelligence platform:..
Splashed across the front page of today's The Guardian is a story about how Open Britain - the advocacy group chaired by PR supremo Roland Rudd and backed by Tory MP Anna Soubry - is urging pro-remain voters in 20 seats held by prominent Brexit-supporting MPs to oust their incumbent but vulnerable representatives in parliament. Here is the link:..
Zak Mir has now deemed himself too important for our weekly session, so the delightful Matt Brown was in the chair today. Here is a link to today's clip:
Ping! A friendly stockbroker emails over a (translated) quote in Direkt magazine from Johan Carlstrom, the founder and main shareholder of Fingerprint Cards, the biometric technology company.
Apparently, Carlstrom told Direckt that: "There has never been a serious, fully financed bid on the company. However, on a few occasions I have received requests to sell my A and B shares. So far, I have chosen not to do that." Here is the link to the piece:..
Zak had already slung his hook by the time I turned up today so the charming Matt Brown was in the chair instead. Here is a link to today's session:
Bloomborg did well to get its series of Panera Bread scoops this week, so hat tip to the journos who landed those tales (I wasn't too far behind them but as a one man band freelancer it's sometimes tricky to get things stood up as quickly as a global financial media giant)...
Zak was back in the hotseat this week, so click on the link below if you want to watch the latest session.
Centaur Media said to be in talks about a sale of Homebuilding and Renovation division to private equity firms - sources - part 2
Centaur Media, publisher of Marketing Week, has finally got round to confirming little old Betaville's Intelligence piece about how the publishing and events group is exploring a sale of its Homebuilding and Renovation division.
Here is the link to this morning's announcement from Centaur Media:..
Little old Betaville took a fair amount of stick last week after Fingerprint Cards, the Swedish biometric sensors company, unvelied a stinker of a profit warning. Here is an FT piece on last week's warning.
Royal Bank of Scotland has maintained a pretty steady line about the behaviour of its notorious (and disbanded) ‘restructuring division’ [also known as the Global Restructuring Group]. Nothing to look at here, move along now, has long been the message...
Tongues are wagging in the Square Mile (the City of London) after Imperial Brands decided to suddenly host an "investor webinar" tomorrow.
According to my moles, Alison Cooper - chief executive of Imperial Brands, formerly known as Imperial Tobacco - is planning to talk about the company's strategy with investors...
Here is a link to today's shenanigans with my old chum Zak.
Refinancing stories aren't exactly front page news but I have stumbled across one that is vaguely interesting.
I understand that London-based private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners has got bankers over at Evercore working on a major refinancing of Key Retirement...
It's good to see the chaps at Omers and Wren House finally pull off a water deal yesterday.
In case you don't recall, I broke the story back in 2013 about how Canada's Borealis, a division of Omers, and the Kuwaiti Investment Authority (which is now operating the Wren House guise) teamed up to mount a joint £5 billion plus bid for FTSE 100-listed Severn Trent. Here is the link to that piece:..
Award winning Theatre producer weighs "strategic options" for his £50 million airport lounges company - sources
An airport lounge company founded by an award-winning theatre producer is poised to sell a stake in the business as part of a deal that could value the group at around £50 million.
City sources said No 1 Lounges, which was founded by Phil Cameron, has hired corporate finance advisers from DC Advisory to look at “strategic options” for the group...
There is plenty going on in M & A land at the moment but below is today's clip looking back over the weekend's scoops and, potentially, some other deals coming down the pipeline...
Revealed: Hong Kong tycoon unhappy with Premier Oil's $2.8 debt deal; looking to form blocking group with other convertible bond investors - sources - part 3
I see Premier Oil is this morning claiming in its final results that its $2.8 billion jumbo refinancing will complete in late May. Here is the link:
The long running dust up between the management of vodka distiller Stock Spirits and Luis Amaral, the Portuguese billionaire who owns 10pc of the business, continues unabated.
London-listed Stock Spirits announced preliminary results this morning that didn't seem to worry the market too much (shares up a 1pc or so in morning trade). In case you missed it, here is a link to the company's statement:..
American kitchenwear company Williams-Sonoma is said to be interesting in combining with US rival Restoration Hardware.
City sources claim that since the beginning of this year Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware have had discussions about a deal that could value the latter at $39.50.
However, the chief executive of Restoration Hardware, Gary Friedman, is thought to have rejected Williams-Sonoma's advances, according to these sources...
Why do so many of the world's most powerful hedge fund managers end up in nasty spats in the Bahamas?
For most people the Bahamas is an idyllic Caribbean island that they can only dream of visiting. But for some of the world's wealthiest hedgies that own houses on the Bahamas it would appear to be an island that eventually causes profound angst...
Sorry for the delay in publishing the link to today's Tip TV session but I have had some rather important meetings this morning...
Anyway, here is the link:
Sportingbet owner GVC said to be gearing up for next major takeover deal; spokesperson denies interest in £5 billion Playtech merger - part 2
I see one of my favourite ex-Telegraph colleagues, Harry Wilson of The Times, has also noted GVC appears to be preparing for its next major deal by putting debt financing in place.
In case you missed it, here is a link to Harry Wilson's excellent market report column in today's The Times:..
Revealed: Hong Kong tycoon unhappy with Premier Oil's $2.8 billion debt deal; looking to form blocking group with other convertible bond investors - sources - part 2
Oh look - Pyrrho Investments has confirmed my tale from earlier on in the day and last week. In case you missed it, I have pasted the announcement below:
Pyrrho Investments Limited ("Pyrrho"), an investment fund, notes the Refinancing update announcements made by Premier Oil ("the Company") from February 2017 to date.
Pyrrho is one of the 3 largest convertible bondholders in Premier Oil with approximately 10% of the total convertible bonds in issuance...
Revealed: Hong Kong tycoon unhappy with Premier Oil's $2.8 billion debt deal; looking to form blocking group with other convertible bond investors - sources
Premier Oil this morning attempted to present a deal with its convertible bond holders as a fait accompli. See the link below:
When I was a young reporter on The Daily Telegraph in the mid noughties working a late shift I was somewhat bamboozled by the first editions of the Daily Mail and The Daily Express.
Well, that's because the front page (of the main book) of one those newspapers led with a story about how prices are set to soar while the other claimed on the front page (of the main book, too) that houses prices were set to crash...
Sportingbet owner GVC said to be gearing up for its next major takeover deal; spokesperson denies interest in £5 billion Playtech merger
Sportingbet owner GVC Holdings is said to be gearing up for its next major takeover deal.
According to sources familiar with the matter, investment banks - such as JP Morgan - are said to have put in place a big debt financing package for GVC to use as funds for major M&A tansaction...
Re-visiting the British Sunday newspapers on a Monday is one of my favourite things to do as I often discover nuggets of info I failed to spot over the weekend when I'm scouring the business sections...
Apologies if I look like I have just stepped out of the shower during this session. It litreally tipped it down as I was running from the the tube station to the studio, so I got soaked. Anyway, here is a link to today's session (in which half way through I refer to last year's "election" but meant "referendum"):
Remember the tales of plans to build a £1 billion residential skycraper in Canary Wharf?
Well, yesterday The Sunday Times published the latest twist to the story on the front page of its business section. Here is the link in case you missed yesterday's piece:
I guess today's stock market reports in the Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph edge the flag pole alert series further forwards. In case you missed it, I have pasted a link to Bryce Elder's report in the Financial Times below:
Two days on and the upper echelons of the financial media world are still picking over the carcass of the failed Kraft Heinz / 3G / Warren Buffett / Unilever deal.
Probably the best newspaper piece out there is the "tick tock" by Arash Massoudi and James Fontanella-Kahn in today's Financial Times. Here is the link in case you haven't read it:..
Ben Marlow, a former colleague from a long time ago and now a big cheese at The Daily Telegraph, wrote this opinion piece - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/02/21/botched-bid-unilever-shows-rules-game-have-changed-foreign-takeovers/ - on the changing nature of dealmaking in Britain...
Centaur Media said to be in talks about a sale of Homebuilding and Renovation division to private equity firms - sources
Centaur Media PLC, publisher of Marketing Week, is said to be weighing a sale of its Homebuilding and Renovation division.
According to sources close to the situation, London-listed Centaur Media has offered buy-out firms the opportunity to express an interest in purchasing Homebuilding and Renovation, which consists of a magazine and an event...
I see the lead item in today's Daily Mail city diary is about how leading investment banks missed out on a massive fee bonanza after the Kraft Heinz's $143 billion takeover approach for Unilever collapsed...
Below is a link to today's session with Jenny Hammond and Zak Mir - and, unsurprisingly, we spent a lot of time talking about Unilever!
Take a bow Bryce Elder, stock market reporter over at the Financial Times. The intrepid hack has just landed the M&A scoop of the year, decade or, perhaps, century with his tale this morning about Kraft Heinz's £100 billion plus takeover approach for Unilever. If you follow M&A, I'm sure you have seen the statements.
I suspect rival hacks, such as the Kleinmanator of Sky News or team Bloomborg, will have trouble topping that one. Good luck to them...
Will 2017 be a better year for Crispin Odey, one of Britain's best-known hedge fund managers?
Well, in the some respects things are on the up for the charasmatic buffer, who once spent over £150,000 on a Palladian style mansion for his pet chickens...
US-listed Radius Health saw it's shares gain almost 7pc yesterday thanks to a piece on Streetinsider.com about Shire renewing its interest in the business. I have pasted the link to the Streetinsider article below:
The chaps and chapettes at FT Alphaville appear to be running behind schedule this week so I thought I should step in and fill the void.
I guess one event the market will be scrutinising will be Liberty Global's full-year results, which I'm told by people familiar with the matter will be unveiled this evening in the US...
No sooner had I posted the link to this morning's Tip TV session with Zak Mir than Allergan announced a $2.5 billion deal to buy Zeltiq Aesthetics!
Now, regular followers of my work will recall that, as well as today, I mentioned body sculpting company Zeltiq Aesthetics as a potential takeover target on Tip TV a few weeks ago. Here is the link:..
Quelle surprise: Stada confirms weighing strategic options after receiving bids from private equity firms
Hacks over at the FT dug out a great story overnight - https://www.ft.com/content/e21d830a-f13e-11e6-95ee-f14e55513608 - about German drugmaker Stada receiving bids from a couple of private equity firms. And the German company has subsequently confirmed its received indicative approaches...
Trade publications really are having a good week on the story front this week.
Indeed, today legal publication The Lawyer landed a rather intriguing tale about how a British High Court judge has thrown into question the legitimacy of a £16 million bill charged to Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation by Decherts, the law firm that counts the former deputy prime minister's wife as a partner...
I realise this is a bit a late in the day but a loyal reader has got in touch with an interesting nugget from Japan Tobacco's results earlier this week.
Tucked away on page 6 of Japan Tobacco's investor presentation is an intriguing line about how is looking to "expand geographically notably through acquisitions". Here is a link to Japan Tobacco's investor presentation in case you haven't read it:..
I have to admit I'm not an avid reader of Leaprate.com but it would appear this "indepedent research and advisory firm" has just landed a rather decent jackanory...
There is a piece of Deutsche bank research floating out there in the market speculating about the possibility of a fresh takeover bid for William Hill, the listed bookmaker.
Now, readers might recall I broke the story about 888 and Rank coming together to instigate a three-way merger with William Hill in The Sunday Times last summer. In case you don't recall here is a link to that piece:..
Revealed: Heineken / Patron consortium said to have swept market for Punch Taverns stock as part of market raid - sources
Patron Capital and Heneiken have been carrying out a secret raid for Punch Taverns shares, Betaville can reveal.
Good sources tell me the private equity firm and Heneiken have been buying Punch shares via stockbroker Peel Hunt during today's trading session.
So far, roughly 55 million Punch shares - or 25pc - have traded today, meaning the consortium is likely to have bought around 20pc...
The dealmaker, the bank and the missing skyscraper series returns - Credit Suisse hires one of London's top QCs as defence barrister ahead of trial
Remember the tale little old Betaville broke a couple of years ago about how investors are chasing Thomas Ryan, a mystery Irish property developer, and (ex) Credit Suisse private banker Hans-Olav Eldring in the commercial courts in London after the pair of scallywags concocted a scheme to build a £1 billion residential tower in Canary Wharf that eventually vanished into thin air?..
Take a bow M&A hacks over at the venerable Wall Street Journal.
Late last night the two Danas published a tale about London-listed Reckitt Benckiser is in talks to buy US baby food company Mead Johnson for over $16 billion and today the FTSE 100 company has confirmed the WSJ's mega scoop. (see the link below)..
Last night little old Betaville headed to Squirrel on Harrington Road (no connection with myself) in South Kensington, London, where former The Times journalist Rachel Kelly and nutritionist Alice Mackinstosh held a launch party for their new health food book, the Happy Kitchen, Good Mood Food...
I got a bit caught up yesterday afternoon but I did want to reflect on what appears to be another example of a blatant "fake denial", which seem to be becoming increasingly prominent these days.
Last summer hacks at CNBC TV 18 landed a brilliant "exclusive" about how Aditya Birla / Idea Cellular and Vodafone were in the early stages of exploring a combination of their Indian operations. Here is the link:..
It's a Monday, so here is a link to today's Tip TV session with Matt Brown and the erudite Zak Mir.
Hat tip to hacks over at German newspaper Handelsblatt, which this weekend ran the scoop about Allianz's takeover talks with QBE. Here is the link:
This is piece (see below) from Bloomberg is a great read and demonstrates how hedge funds found an interesting "edge" on the $30 billion Johnson & Johnson / Actelion deal.
So, the UK M&A market has roared back into life with a fresh multi-billion deal announced this morning - Tesco's £3.7 billion takeover of wholesaler Booker. ..
Perhaps the FT's Axa / Generali merger rumours were just a load of hot air after all?
Yesterday, Reuters reported that Axa's CEO is "not interested in Generali" although if you read the story carefully the chief executive doesn't quite say what the headline claims.
Anyway, I will let readers decide what they think by providing a link to the Reuters piece below:..
It would appear the venerable Financial Times was barking up roughly the right tree when it aired the rumours about Italian insurance company Generali merging with a rival, possibly French company Axa, earlier this month. In case you don't recall here is the link:
The scribblers over at French broker Exane BNP Paribas were pushing the Japan Tobacco for Imperial Brands line hard this morning although I have still not unearthed any new facts (it's called journalism) that might substantiate their theory.
Obviously, I will let loyal readers know when I do but for the time being I have pasted Exane's note below...
I used to dread the Davos Economic Forum when I worked at The Daily Telegraph. That's because the higher ups would swan off for a week of "networking" in the Swiss Alps leaving the middle rankers (like me) to pick up the slack in the office...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Below is the first Tip TV session of 2017 with my old chum Zak, who was rather subdued today as he was suffering with a heavy cold.
I see market reports in both the Financial Times and The Times have dedicated a significant amount of column inchs this morning to the mounting speculation about a potential takeover bid for ITV. Here are links to those respective columns:
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.
One follower of the company described it as "massive news" likely to flush out the Japanese...
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)...
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...
There have been a couple of major US biotech deal announcements today, which should cheer a few market watchers up on what on this wet, strike-ridden Monday...
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...
In case you missed it - I did because City AM isn't distributed where I live - here is a link to the Kleinmanator's New Year prediction column, in which he writes he expects AstraZeneca will be bid for again by numerous international parties...
Uber bankers Sir Simon Robey and Simon Warshaw were being feted in the British business press today after the boutique advisory firm released its accounts for last year showing their little outfit made £37 million in profits...
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...
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.....
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:..
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
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...
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...
Royal Bank of Scotland might have been hit with bunch of fresh legal claims (see my post from earlier in the week) but yesterday the beleugered bank won its long-running legal tussle with Manchester-based developer Property Alliance Group.
In fact, it really was a comprehensive win for taxpayer-owned RBS, with the bank winning all counts in the UK's first judgement in a civil Libor-related claim...
There is more evidence in the The Times and the Financial Times this morning that my piece - https://www.betaville.co.uk/news/chinese-still-circling/ - from earlier this week was/is bang on the money...
I'm sure I will be on the receiving end of a load of unpleasant abuse from various trolls after this little update but I think loyal and sensible readers deserve a follow up piece since my original RARE ALERT about Walt Disney rekindling its interest in buying Twitter. Here is a link to that piece published in October:..
The venerable Financial Times has just published this rather good read about how Japanese companies will be back on the prowl for businesses in Blighty in 2017...
2016 wasn't great for Royal Bank of Scotland. The embattled bank, led by Ross McEwan, not only saw its shares tumble over 20pc since the beginning of the year but also its protracted legal battles rumble on...
This year has thrown up plenty of surprises. Politics aside, it's the global M&A boom led by Chinese buyers that was quite unexpected. There had always been plenty of banker talk about China-backed bids of western companies but I don't think many commentators would have predicted this year's huge surge in dealmaking by Chinese businesses...
It would appear GVC, the owner of Sportingbet, wasn't the only online gaming outfit chatting to Ladbrokes Coral about a multi-billion pound merger deal.
Good sources have told little old Betaville that Paddy Power Betfair has also been talking to Ladbrokes Coral about a takeover...
Little old Betaville has been taking a bit of stick on Twitter recently for the story on Fingerprint Cards published a couple of months ago. So, I thought I would pen a note to clarify a few things for readers who seem to be obsessed by this Nordic biometric technology company...
This deal announcement in the Vet Times (see below) seemed to slip under the radar somewhat but I'm noting it as little old Betaville was the first to break the story a few weeks ago about Independent Vetcare being put up for sale.
Here is a rare piece of upbeat news about the City's embattled stockbroking industry.
City sources said Epsilon Investments, a Singaporean investment firm, has effectively acquired a stake in Novum Securities, a stockbroker based in Mayfair, London...
It's always rather frustrating when you spent of a lot of time and effort trying to stack up a scoop and then a well-resourced rival publication pips you at the post. And that's what happened this afternoon when the chaps at the Financial Times and FT Alphaville ran their stories about Ladbrokes Coral and GVC weighing a £4.2 billion merger.
Here are links to Bryce Elder's market report and also the FT's follow up news report by Paul McLean and Bryce:..
German drug company Stada Arzneimittel has begun working with financial advisers to weigh the group's "strategic options".
According to two sources familiar with the matter, generic drug group Stada is said to be working with bankers from Goldman Sachs after receiving informal expressions of interest from potential acquirers...
It struck me while looking over the coverage of the spreadbetting industry over the last 48 hours that none of the mainstream press picked up on the fact that charming Crispin Odey is one of largest shareholders in Plus 500...
Revealed: secret name of consortium preparing £12 billion bid for National Grid distribution business - sources - part 2
So, coming up with a silly name to differentiate your consortium from the other Chinese bidders clearly does work. This morning it was announced the mega consortium, which called itself (in secret) the "Saxon Infrastructure Distribution Company", has won the £13 billion National Grid gas distribution auction...
Upmarket caterer Rhubarb close to £100 million sale; Bregal Freshstream and Graphite Capital said to be some of the buy-out firms participating in second round - part 2
The Rhubarb deal I wrote a few weeks ago has been announced (see below) - although reportedly at a slightly lower valuation than I expected (Dom Walsh at The Times today reported at around £75 million).
Bloomberg last night "broke" the story about French drugs company Sanofi considering a counter offer for Swiss biopharmaceutical group Actelion. Here is the link:
Please click on the link below if you interested in today's banter on Tip TV with Jenny Hammond and Zak Mir.
Apologies if this a bit late in the day but I think its worthwhile flagging up a rather good scoop written by one of my old colleagues from my time at The Daily Telegraph.
Katherine Griffiths, now Banking Editor at The Times, landed the splash in this morning with her exclusive tale about how the regulators are looking to find a buyer for Manchester Building Society, reminding the world of the British building society crises in 2008/9...
It would appear some people in the echo chamber on the other side of the pond don't "get" Betaville. This is particularly evident with aspects of my recent Twitter stories, which are being mis-represented on Twitter (I realise there are many ironies here). Either that or there are some scallywags trying to deliberately mis-quote Betaville in markets for their own ends...
Little old Betaville's has had a lot of enquiries from readers about where the Twitter auction has got to since I wrote about it a month ago in a RARE ALERT. And this week's news that Twitter will stream Disney's Stars Wars content has really got readers scratching their heads about the sale process. Here is a link to the announcement:..
It's lucky I re-started the "flag pole alert" series a few weeks ago (click on the link if you don't recall - https://www.betaville.co.uk/news/flag-pole-alert-the-series-returns/) as Japan Tobacco has just carried out some organisational changes and that has got a few of Betaville's Imperial Tobacco watchers a bit hot under the collar...
Brokers at Bank of America Merill Lynch were yesterday pushing the line that a Severn Trent takeover by infrastructure funds is back on the cards (see below the original note).
After last week's Actelion shenanigans, here is a link to this morning's session with Jenny and Zak with, among other things, a little update on the situation. If your interested click on the link below:
Actelion has just confirmed it has received a £17 billion takeover approach from Johnson & Johnson. Meanwhile, Dominic O'Connell, former The Sunday Times business editor and now a presenter on Radio 4, has just Tweeted this:..
Actelion is currently up just over 15pc and various hacks are claiming the "scoop" despite the fact the story hasn't even made into hard newsprint yet in one of the "newspapers of record" (Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph etc) or been confirmed by the Swiss company itself...
Robert Montague hasn't featured in British business sections for quite some time. Perhaps, though, that's a good thing for him because the last time the entrepreneur hit the headlines the company he built into a FTSE 100 business - Tiphook, a container and truck leasing business - was imploding and Montague was declared bankrupt with personal debts of £30 million...
RARE ALERT: HM Treasury said to be weighing major changes to property tax; may even abolish stamp duty - part 4
Today's Autumn statement from Philip Hammond confirms my Tory banker chums were bang on the money about the Chancellor of the Exchequer's move to keep the current stamp duty regime in place...
Remember J.C. Flowers & Co?..
Below is what the charming Crispin Odey wrote in his latest report to investors.
It's rather short (typically his missives are at least a 1000 words longer) and somewhat abstract. I guess that's what happens when you have a terrible year (last time I checked poor old Crispin was down around 43pc year to date)...
This isn't earth shattering news but probably interesting for deal watchers in Britain's retail sector.
This week I learned that UK-based private equity firm Bridgepoint has hired investment bankers from Baird to work on a secret project for Hobbycraft, one of Britain's largest arts and craft retailers. Banking sources claimed to me that Baird had been appointed to carry out a strategic review (banker parlance for sale) of Hobbycraft...
I note Bloomberg earlier this week published a tale about Mediclinic taking a look at Amana Healthcare, a private medical-care provider in the United Arab Emirates. According to the newswire service, Amana has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to explore a sale that may value the company at $400 million...
RARE ALERT: HM Treasury said to be weighing major changes to property tax; may even abolish stamp duty - part 3
I see my former employer, The Daily Telegraph, has picked up on a theme little old Betaville has been writing about for the last month or so. Today, the venerable newspaper splashed the main book on a campaigning piece - dubbed 'Stamp duty' - advocating major changes to the tax (for readers outside of the UK you have to pay stamp duty when you purchase a property). Here is a link to the The Daily Telegraph's splash story:..
It's a Monday and Zak was in the mood to talk about politics. I tried, though, to keep it corporate. Here is a link to today's session:
Little old Betaville has been running now for a couple of years and has developed a bit of a following in the City. And some readers are now even offering to write pieces for little old Betaville.
So, as a bit of an experiment, below is a contribution from a certain “Mr Shears”. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
A contribution from Mr Shears:
There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip, as my old boss used to say...
Reuters landed a good story earlier this week about a US biopharmaceutical company called Merrimack Pharmaceuticals carrying out a "strategic review" (banker parlance for a sale or sale of assets). Here is a link to the Reuters piece:
Upmarket caterer Rhubarb close to £100 million sale; Bregal Freshstream and Graphite Capital said to be some of the buy-out firms participating in second round
I realise Trump is the only major news story in town at the moment but here's a little tale for the mid-market dealmaking village back in Blighty.
Word is private equity firm ECI is closing in on a £100 million sale of upmarket caterer Rhubarb, which has contracts with the Royal Albert Hall and Goodwood Estate...
Little old Betaville was greeted with rather pleasant news this evening after he returned from a session in the pub with a few ex-Telegraph chums.
One of little old Betaville's American scoopettes was effectively confirmed after the US market closed yesterday...
I see Bpost has finally submitted a formal offer for Post NL, essentially confirming the tale I mentioned on Tip TV a few weeks ago.
Here is a link to that Tip TV session - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp6YxOLwrb8#sthash.avKgWIXv.dpuf..
One of Britain’s largest chain of vets could be about to change hands for around £350 million.
[insert picture of a cuddly dog or cat here]
City sources said Summit Partners, the US-based private equity owner of Independent Vetcare (IVC), has been talking to corporate finance types about a sale of the business...
RARE ALERT: HM said to be weighing major changes to property taxes; may even abolish stamp duty - part 2
Several London-based Betavillers were rather interested in my RARE alert a few weeks ago about HM Treasury's potential changes to stamp duty.
And here is the confirmation from Bpost:
Press release, 02/11/2016..
Lowland hacks over at Het Financieele Dagblad and De Tijd and have just landed cracking tales about Bpost preparing a fresh EURO 2 billion plus takeover bid for Post NL. Below is the link to their jackanories:
Here is a link to today's Tip TV session with the mischevious Zak Mir.
Revealed: secret name of consortium preparing £12 billion bid for National Grid distribution business - sources
The £12 billion auction for National Grid's distribution business is hotting up and top M&A reporters are breaking stories left, right and centre.
Last week, for example, the Kleinmanator of Sky News published a good scoopette about how Hermes had joined a consortium of investors led by CIC, the Chinese state's sovereign wealth fund. Here is a link to Mark's piece:..
Remember Equities First Holdings?..
Some rather juicy RARE has landed in my lap.
It's a pretty simple tale: Walt Disney Co is said to be closing in on a multi-billion dollar takeover of micro blogging site Twitter after both companies agreed on a takeout price late last week...
I thought I might clarify a few things following a misrepresentation of my Coach / Burberry story by the "echo chamber"...
If your interested in my thoughts on last week's Burberry tale and this weekend's stories do click on the link below:
US retailer Coach is working with corporate financiers on a potential combination with Burberry to create a $20 billion luxury clothing giant, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
Coach has been talking to financial advisers from Evercore for several weeks about the potential deal, according to two sources familiar with the situation...
On second thoughts perhaps Jonthan Leinster, a scribbler over stockbroker Berenberg, should claim the this morning's BAT / Reynolds scoop. At 6:00 am this morning (so before the market had open) the analyst, who upgraded BAT to "buy", published a note raising the prospect of the London-listed tobacco giant buying the remaining 58pc of Reynolds that it doesn't own. I have pasted the salient paragraph below:..
It's taken two years but British American Tobacco has finally got round to confirming a piece I wrote in the The Times a couple years ago about the giant cigarette group hiring Deutsche Bank alongside UBS with a view to making a $47 billion bid for Reynolds American.
RARE ALERT: Meritage Homes Corporation said to be targeting William Lyon Homes; President and CEO says "no deal"
It's been a while since I aired some random RARE on Betaville but I came across an intriguing tale that I thought might be of interest to readers, especially those on the other side of the Atlantic.
Word is US housebuilder Meritage Homes Corporation has been working with investment bankers on a takeover of smaller rival William Lyon Homes...
I saw Lord O'Neill of Gatley, also known as Jim O'Neill, out of the corner of my eye whilst little old Betaville was at an informal meeting at the uber-suave Dover Street Arts Club (in Mayfair, London) yesterday afternoon.
Baron O'Neill, an economist, is the former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, former Conservative government minister and once helped lead the Red Knights' takeover bid for Manchester United Football Club...
Little old Betaville headed to the High Court today for the final day of the Property Alliance Group's case against Royal Bank of Scotland...
Avanti Communications poised to win stay of execution for sale, equity injection or recapitalisation - sources - part 2
It would appear the piece I published a couple of weeks ago - https://www.betaville.co.uk/tags/avanti-communications/ - was bang on the money.
Today Avanti Communications announced this:..
My old friend Zak was in a good mood, so he wasn't too harsh on me this morning. Here is a link to today's session:
Young bankers, hedge funders and property surveyors that frequent Mayfair's bars, restaurants and members' clubs might like to read Jim "Armo" Armitage's Focus piece in today's Evening Standard.
As usual, there were plenty of high-flying City types that bid for all sorts of prizes at last week's annual Countryside Alliance "wine auction" dinner held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London a week ago.
Those in attendance included billionaire duty free tycoon Bob Miller, Gulf dealmaker Amanda Staveley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch financier Simon MacKenzie-Smith...
Shire is closing in on a multi-billion dollar takeover of US-listed Radius Health, a company that specialises in developing treatments for people with osteoporosis.
To be fair, rumours about Shire's interest in Radius are not particularly new. Talk of Shire pouncing on Radius, which currently has a market capitalisation of $2.2 billion, has been doing the rounds over the last twelve months...
Remember Russell Chambers?
In case you don't, let me remind you. Russell is the smooth-talking Credit Suisse investment banker who hit the headlines in the early Noughties after he invited Tony Blair onto his boat in Barbados and lent the former British Prime Minister some swim shorts. Here is a link to a piece on the topic:..
I see ING is airing a similar line to the one I mentioned on Tip TV earlier this week about Bpost's lingering enthusiasm for a takeover of Dutch group Post NL.
In case you don't recall, Belgian mail group Bpost and Holland's Post NL held merger talks in May this year but the deal fell over after it "leaked" in the local press. Bloody journos!..
Apollo poised to purchase stake in Lloyd's of London underwriter Ariel Re, according to The Insurance Insider
Some dealmakers I talk to are rather glum. That's because there has been quite a bit of talk of a post summer slowdown in M&A.
However, one sector that is red hot at the moment is insurance. This week alone there have been several major transactions announced, including Sompo's £5.3 billion takeover of Endurance and NN Group's EURO 2.4 billion bid for Delta Lloyd...
The corporate broking merry-go-round continues unabated in the City of London.
I'm told ITV has just got rid of JP Morgan and replaced its longstanding corporate broker, formerly known as JP Morgan Cazenove, with Citigroup. Citigroup corporate brokers are now working for ITV alongside Credit Suisse, according to people familiar with the matter...
I have pasted a link to today's Tip TV session below for avid followers who failed to tune in for this morning's banter.
UPDATE: Apologies - in today's session I refer to the speculation around a potential bid from Roche for Illumina valuing the business at $25 billion but in fact what I meant to say was $35 billion. ..
Avanti Communications poised to win stay of execution for sale, equity injection or recapitalisation - sources
Avanti Communications is on the verge of securing an agreement with all the owners of its bonds that will see the satellite operator defer the payment of a $32.2 million coupon until 2019, according to sources familiar with the situation...
It's only been a couple of days since shareholders voted to approve Anheuser-Busch Inbev's $100 billion takeover of FTSE 100-listed SAB Miller but already the market has moved onto pastures new, speculating about the next massive beer deal.
Yesterday, French stockbroker Exane BNP Paribas published a massive note about the latest "rumour du jour" - talk of Heineken, now the world's second largest brewer, having a crack at purchasing US-listed Molson Coors...
So, yesterday's tale about Sir Paul Judge missing out on the Lord Mayor of London role, again, was bang on the money as the City of London Corporation has just made a formal announcement about the next Lord Mayor, which I have pasted below...
City of London Corporation
29 September 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW CITY LORD MAYOR ELECTED
Poor old Sir Paul Judge. I understand Sir Paul - who hit the headlines a few years ago amid a row with his former employer, mining company ENRC - is once again set to miss out on the presitgious Lord Mayor of London job...
It would appear one of the world's most powerful investment banks has landed a role on the Reuben Brothers' £5.2 billion sale of data storage company Global Switch to a group of Chinese investors.
Top sources have told little old Betaville Goldman Sachs has picked up a mandate advising on the deal, first revealed in the The Sunday Times a month or so ago...
It's a Monday, so here is a link to today's session on Tip TV with a rather chirpy Zak Mir.
It's not often Crispin Odey appears on TV but yesterday he was a pundit on the BBC programme - Brexit: a very British coup. In case you missed it, here is the link:
Remember my tale about the Lion One Metals fundraising post Brexit? Here is the link:
Another day, another attempt by a Chinese company to buy a western business. This time the potential target is Fingerprint Cards, the Swedish biometric technology business.
According to three sources familiar with the situation, a Chinese company approached Fingerprint Cards this summer about a potential takeover deal that is likely to value the Gothenburg-based business at well over its current market capitalisation of SEK 33 billion (£3 billion)...
This piece (click on the link below) from the Wall Street Journal on the upcoming vote on the £75 billion SAB Miller deal is eerily similar to a piece I wrote on little old Betaville a few weeks ago.
Here is the link to the Wall Street Journal article:
Apparently, Japan Tobacco are in London town this week for a "presentation". This has set a few tongues wagging. However, from what I understand the Japanese ciggie giant is here to talk to investors i.e. they are in town for an investor roadshow.
Still, I'm re-introducing Betaville's flag pole series in case there is more to it. For readers who don't recall, I have pasted a few links of past flag pole stories...
It's a Monday, so here is the link to today's Tip TV session.
RARE ALERT: HM Treasury said to be weighing major changes to property taxes; may even abolish stamp duty
It's not often little old Betaville comes up with the RARE about politics and Government policy (people who know me well know that I'm more of a corporate reporter) but I stumbled upon some policy RARE earlier this week that, if true, will have major implications for home owners, estate agents, housebuilders and, I guess, the British economy...
The Serious Fraud Office is once again coming under fire.
This time the business section of The Times splashed on an intriguing tale from Katherine Griffiths - a former colleague from my time at The Daily Telegraph and now Banking Editor at The Times - about how the SFO has, so far, failed to go after the "higher ups" involved in the whole Libor fixing affair.
Here is a link a to Katherine's excellent piece, which is well worth a read:..
It's been a couple of weeks since Zak hosted me on Tip TV but today I was back in the chair. Here is a link to today's session:
It's good to see Air Liquide finally confirm little old Betaville's scoop from a few weeks ago about the French industrial gases giant exploring a sale of company that invented Scuba diving equipment.
In case you don't recall, a couple of weeks ago I wrote this:..
A Cypress update: company said to be working with Goldman Sachs on strategic options; three private equity firms circling - sources - part 2
I note Deal Reporter and its sister publication PARR followed up little old Betaville's tale from a couple of months ago on Cypress Semiconductors. In case you don't recall, here is a link to that piece:..
The summer is over (well, in the UK at least) and dealmaking has roared back into life.
This morning the Kleinmanator's mega scoop from last night about Micro Focus buying Hewlett-Packard's software division for $8 billion was confirmed on the Regulatory News Service, sending the the company's stock over 20pc higher...
It would appear the Poundland vote on Steinhoff's takeover offer has ended up being a bit of a damp squib.
According to brokers, only 2.14pc of shareholders voted against the offer!..
Clearly, all eyes this week will be on how Elliott, the edgy US hedge fund, plans to vote its 25pc stake in discount retailer Poundland after switching its shares into physical stock. Is it a bluff, a double bluff or even a triple bluff? The market will find out soon enough.
Ironically, though, it's one of Elliott's rather large positions held in another company - SAB Miller - via contracts for differences that is causing a frisson of anxiety among investors...
The sharp suited types over at Elliott - the punchy American hedge fund that often makes big, acitivist punts on events - have done something rather unusual: the hedgies have switched most of the near 23pc position in Poundland into physical equity...
French industrial gases giant Air Liquide is exploring a sale of the company that invented Scuba diving equipment and was founded by the well-known oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.
Air Liquide has asked bankers at Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for Aqua Lung, which was formerly known as La Spirotechnique. People familiar with the matter said information packs have already been sent to potential buyers, many of whom are likely to be private equity firms...
Hilarious (or ridiculous, perhaps) - the Financial Times is now reporting little old Betaville's AIG/Ascot scoop but attributing the tale as "first reported" by the Wall Street Journal. Here is the link:
I see the Twitterati on Twitter (there are quite a few words beginning with twit, here) are claiming the mighty Wall Street Journal this afternoon broke the story or landed the "scoop" about AIG selling Ascot, the Lloyd's of London insurer.
Funny that because I'm sure I published a story this morning about how AIG is gearing up to sell Ascot. Here is the link:..
That last bastion of old school broking - the Lloyd's of London insurance market - may soon be a fertile environment for dealmakers.
I'm hearing from good industry sources that US insurance giant AIG is gearing up for a potential sale of Ascot. Ascot is a member of the Lloyd's market, where it's not unusual for brokers and underwriters to go out for a long boozy lunch and return to work fours hours later completely inebriated. In fact, in some places it's encouraged...
Zak was down in the dumps today, so I cheered him up by blathering on for ten minutes about the curent red hot M&A market. Here is the link to today's session:
Sanofi said to weigh alternative deals to Medivation; eyes BioMarin pharmaceutical - sources - part 2
Hacks at the FT last night landed a rather good scoop about Pfizer winning the long running Medivation auction with a $14 billion takeover bid. Here is the link:
I see the most of the British newspaper market reports ran the easyJet bid tale for a second day in a row.
However, the likes of Bryce Elder of the Financial Times and Martin Waller of The Times put a somewhat cynical spin on the jackanory, alluding to the gossip as a "silly season" story that typically come about during the dog days of August...
It really does appear Crispin has been caught short - above is an image (courtsey of Bloomberg) showing the Odey European flagship fund covering many of the fund's short positions.
Or, perhaps the bear is finally capitulating.....
Things have gone from bad to worse for the charasmatic Crispin this year. It's clear the Brexit bounce (following the market sell off) for his flagship European fund was only temporary and now he is down 29.2pc (according to the latest investment letter seen by little old Betaville).
Still, what's impressive is that rather than capitulating Odey is backing his overall bearish outlook by sticking most of his fund in gold. Punchy!..
Typically, August is one of the quietest periods for M&A. But this year things have really been turned on their head, with this Augsut fast becoming one of the busiest I can recall for dealmaking.
Today, Eyk Henning of the venerated Wall Street Journal landed the mega scoop about Praxair's $60 billion merger talks with Linde. Hap tip to the intrepid Eyk for landing that blockbuster jackanory. Here is the link in case you missed it:..
The lads and ladettes over at FT Alphaville may have knocked off for the week but little old Betaville continues unabated. So, here is a link to today's Tip TV session.
I see Rank, 888 Holdings and William Hill have all effectively confirmed my tale from the weekend in the Mail on Sunday and on Betaville yesterday that the "consortium" was planning to raise its indicative offer for the bookie.
Here are the links to the various statements that came out this morning: ..
Well, you may have noticed that today's Mail on Sunday business splash on William Hill and Entertainment One carried my by-line. That's because I was doing some freelance work for the paper last week. In case you missed it, here is the link:..
I must say this William Hill situation really has thrown up some quite bizarre behaviour by "people close to the situation".
I understand that some "people close to the situation" (you know who you are) had been claiming my scoop from a couple of weeks ago in The Sunday Times about Rank and 888 holding merger talks ahead of making a £3 billion bid for William Hill wasn't a true "scoop" because we didn't get the story "quite right"...
After almost two years of trying the mischevious Zak Mir finally gets my official job title right. Click on the link below to witness it - and also a bit of analysis on the IHG story that broke over the weekend.
Undoubtedly, Daniel Dunkley's story in today's The Sunday Times about Anbang Insurance weighing a £7 billion takeover bid for InterContinentalhotels is one of the biggest corporate scoops of the weekend. Here is the link to Dan's piece:
Watching Newsnight last night left me feeling bemused.
The final interview was with Harriet Green, the controversial former boss of Thomas Cook. She has many admirers in the City for being a highly motivated self starter who led the turnaround of the FTSE 250 travel company when it ran into financial difficulty. Green now heads up IBM's 'internet of things' division in the US...
It's great to see a former colleague flourishing in his new (ish) job.
Graham "Ruddy" Ruddick was a graduate trainee when I was working the markets and M&A beat at The Daily Telegraph a few years ago. ..
I have talked a bit about this situation on Tip TV during the last couple of weeks but now I think I have bottomed it out, so readers/viewers might appreciate a more detailed story on Betaville.
Chinese conglomerate HNA is weighing a takeover of US-listed Global Eagle Entertainment, according to two sources familiar with the matter...
Here is something to cheer you up on a dreary Monday - this morning's Tip TV session with the mischevious Zak Mir. I have pasted the link below:
Anheuser-Busch Inbev said to have hired proxy solicitor Georgeson as £79 billion SAB Miller takeover deal goes to the wire - sources
This isn't earth shattering news but I did pick an interesting nugget on the megabrew deal this evening...
It's not just international FTSE 100 companies that are benefiting from a Brexit bounce driven by investors seeking companies that generate earnings outside of Blighty.
I'm hearing certain gold mining stocks, such as Lion One Metals, that aren't reliant on sterling, US dollars and Euros are also seeing strong interest from London-based investors looking to diversify their portfolios away from Brexit impacted currencies ...
Oh look - I see another one of little old Betaville's stories has been confirmed this morning with the announcement that Radley has been sold to Bregal Freshstream, a new (ish) private equity firm.
In case you don't recall, little old Betaville was the first global media outlet to "exclusively reveal" that Bregal Freshstream, which is backed by a wealthy Dutch family, was participating in the Radley auction...