Dec 11, 2013 06:43 UTC

Private equity taps happy hour at Oriental Brewery

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By Una Galani

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

Oriental Brewery may produce a happy hour for its private equity investors. Belgium’s Anheuser-Busch InBev has started discussions over buying back the South Korean brewer, which it sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 2009 for $1.8 billion. A back-of-the-beer mat calculation suggests that would earn OB’s private equity backers a 34 percent annualized return.

Dec 10, 2013 20:34 UTC

Time Warner Cable could play a little Pac-Man

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Time Warner Cable could play a little Pac-Man. Being acquired by smaller rival Charter Communications, a plan that has been doing the rounds, would create a highly indebted cable giant with an enterprise value of over $100 billion.

Dec 9, 2013 20:19 UTC

Food deal shows how investors eat up synergies

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By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakignviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Sysco’s acquisition of US Foods shows how investors are eating up synergies. The $3.5 billion purchase, revealed on Monday, received a rapturous reception, with the buyer’s market valuation surging by as much as a quarter – or $5 billion – before giving up some gains. Hefty cost cuts help the merger math.

Nov 29, 2013 18:26 UTC

Pearson makes a tidy turn in the merger market

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

Pearson has made a tidy turn in the merger market. The British publisher, now mainly focused on education, is selling Mergermarket to private equity firm BC Partners for substantially more than it paid for the financial news and data outfit in 2006.

Nov 28, 2013 08:08 UTC

Giant Interactive’s $2.9 bln buyout hard to resist

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By Una Galani

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

Giant Interactive’s $2.9 billion buyout is hard to resist. Chairman Shi Yuzhu is leading a consortium with Baring Private Equity Asia to take the U.S-listed Chinese computer gaming group private. At almost 13 times this year’s earnings, the group’s offer to buy the 53 percent that it doesn’t already own is a chunky premium to peers. Besides, independent investors have few alternatives.

Nov 26, 2013 16:13 UTC

Bayer can pay more for cancer blockbuster partner

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Bayer can pay more for Algeta. After a leak, the German pharma and plastics giant has admitted making a 336-crown-a-share, or 1.8 billion euro ($2.4 billion), takeover overture to its Norwegian partner. Shares in the smaller firm promptly rose above Bayer’s proposal. That looks appropriate: this opening gambit is not overly generous. Algeta’s flagship prostate cancer treatment, Xofigo, is promising. And the technology pioneered here could be used to treat other cancers.

Nov 21, 2013 17:44 UTC

Blackstone’s $6 bln oil deal signals another peak

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

A $6 billion oil deal signals yet another Blackstone apex. The sale of private equity-backed GeoSouthern Energy to Devon Energy comes at a toppy price by one important measure. Blackstone also has an uncanny knack for timing. The glut of undeveloped land owned by oil companies suggests finding buyers will get tougher.

Nov 19, 2013 19:53 UTC

DSM’s pill deal oddly blends carve-out and LBO

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

DSM has come up with an odd formulation to solve its drug-production headache. The world’s biggest vitamin maker is merging its DSM Pharmaceutical Products (DPP) business with a private equity-backed rival. DPP was a subscale distraction. But the precise benefits of the $2.6 billion tie-up are hard to fathom. And DSM cedes control of the unit without reducing its economic exposure.

Nov 19, 2013 08:09 UTC

Aussie dairy battle needs cheap debt to stack up

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Australia’s dairy battle needs cheap debt to stack up. Three bids in as many days for Australia’s Warrnambool have lifted the price tag above A$500 million ($469 million). Local cost savings and projections of China’s thirst for foreign milk help justify the frenzy. But the investment case rests on low borrowing costs.

Nov 14, 2013 18:41 UTC

Snapchat bid triples Facebook’s desperation

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By Robert Cyran

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

Facebook’s Snapchat bid shows triple the desperation. The social network shelled out $1 billion for no-revenue Instagram a little over a year ago. Now it’s said to be dangling as much as $3 billion to lure in a mobile app that sends self-destructing digital images. Facebook’s apparently escalating need to buy off marauders at its moat suggests its defenses may be scalable.

COMMENT

It is an indication that the technology-bubble is alive and well. Eliminating competition has always been a basic premise of market economics so the business practices of Facebook are not so much a behavioral anomaly but almost an industry-standard. Even overpaying for a business property that enhances monopoly power is a practice that has made Google, Microsoft and Cisco Systems very successful in the technology sector, and all three have had tremendous corporate success doing it. So (as the author notes), it remains to be seen how this will work out for Facebook in the long term. But the operating margins in gaining and maintaining technology monopolies may be so high, that there is plenty of room for error so that what seems now to be outright desperation in controlling competitive technology threats may turn out to be prescient foresight.

And who would have thought…?

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