Mar 5, 2015 21:09 UTC

AbbVie CEO may have overpaid again in $21 bln deal

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By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

AbbVie’s chief executive may have overpaid once again. Richard Gonzalez prompted the pharmaceutical giant to cough up $1.6 billion last year to free it from its bid for Irish drug manufacturer Shire. Now the company is paying $21 billion for biotech firm Pharmacyclics, after an intensely competitive auction. AbbVie may end up with a blockbuster medicine, but at too high a cost.

Mar 5, 2015 15:39 UTC

Carlos Slim buys Spanish real estate on the cheap

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The world’s top billionaires are battling for Spanish property. Bill Gates, George Soros and Amancio Ortega have all taken stakes in real estate companies or bought emblematic buildings in Spain. Now Carlos Slim is building his own Spanish empire on the cheap.

Mar 4, 2015 16:57 UTC

Actavis sale dresses up barely investment grade

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By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Actavis is showcasing the value of being barely investment grade. The acquisitive drugmaker attracted huge demand this week for $21 billion of bonds a mere notch above junk. They yield less than Verizon’s bigger and better-rated issue did in 2013. Buyers of top-tier debt can’t help but keep looking further downward.

Mar 3, 2015 20:30 UTC

Trust Citi to win from losing most profitable unit

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Trust Citigroup to benefit from offloading its most profitable business. The U.S. mega-bank has at last sold OneMain, to rival Springleaf, for $4.25 billion. The subprime consumer finance unit has generated returns that far exceed anything else at Citi. And yet the deal provides all manner of relief for the erratic lender run by Michael Corbat.

Mar 2, 2015 14:47 UTC

French telco buyout shows dealmaker in a hurry

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By Quentin Webb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Patrick Drahi is in a hurry. The telecoms magnate has persuaded fellow French billionaire Vincent Bolloré to sell Vivendi’s residual 20 percent stake in Numericable-SFR for 3.9 billion euros. The deal comes just three months after Numericable, then a Drahi-owned cable group, bought SFR after a hot auction. It foreshadows further consolidation in French telecoms – and possibly more M&A by Vivendi.

Feb 24, 2015 19:42 UTC

Hitachi’s $2 bln deal signals Italy open for M&A

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By Quentin Webb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Hitachi’s $2.2 billion deal signals that Italy is open for M&A. The bullet-train maker has agreed to buy Finmeccanica’s rail units. In Italy, and across continental Europe, sales of high-end industrial assets to Far Eastern investors can be controversial. But Hitachi is a credible buyer offering a full price. It helps that the seller is keen to restructure and has sought these divestments for years.

Feb 23, 2015 20:29 UTC

Deal junkie Valeant shoots up on $10 bln fix

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By Robert Cyran

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Deal junkie Valeant Pharmaceuticals has shot up on a $10 billion fix. The drugmaker’s pledge last year to focus on organic growth and debt reduction didn’t last long. Cost cuts and tax savings from buying Salix Pharmaceuticals proved irresistible. What Valeant’s injecting isn’t clear, though. Salix’s numbers are fuzzy after it admitted pumping clients full of inventory.

Feb 20, 2015 20:25 UTC

Time Warner Cable’s deal risk goes down to wire

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Time Warner Cable’s deal risk is going down to the wire. The $45 billion sale to larger rival Comcast has already been under consideration for nearly a year by U.S. regulators. A Federal Communications Commission preoccupied with its decision to treat the internet like a utility caused part of the delay. The agency’s decision to raise the standard for high-speed broadband also sparked fresh concern it might influence the Department of Justice’s analysis. Implied chances for success are now at 60 percent, close to the lowest in the market since the transaction was announced.

Feb 19, 2015 14:48 UTC

Drinks can merger may yet get flattened

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By Robert Cole

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Rexam wants to go to the ball, but trustbusters might ruin the party. After a short flurry of talks, the board of the UK drinks can maker is recommending that shareholders accept a 4.3 billion pound cash and shares offer from U.S. rival Ball Corp. Small wonder, since the offer represents a full 40 percent premium to Rexam’s undisturbed market value. Add debt, and this equates to a generous-looking 10 times 2014 EBITDA.

Feb 17, 2015 19:34 UTC

Fresh flames rise from Sealy’s ever-burning bed

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By Stephanie Rogan

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The burning bed is flaring up again. Uppity hedge fund H Partners, alleging a dormant stock price at Tempur Sealy and private equity directors asleep on the job, wants the boss sacked and a seat on the board. A torturous financial history suggests it’s probably time to light a fire under the company and the industry again.