Apr 17, 2013 21:22 UTC

Gunsmith finds cold shoulders on Wall Street

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

 

Financiers typically turn away fees as willingly as dogs give up steaks. But Wall Street banks are leery of financing bids for gun maker Freedom Group for fear of damaging their reputations. Making assault rifles, it turns out, has joined pornography on the list of activities with risks that money can’t hide.

Apr 9, 2013 22:21 UTC

J.C. Penney exposes inefficiency valuing CEOs

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By Richard Beales

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

The debacle at J.C. Penney exposes a glaring inefficiency in how the market values corporate chieftains. When the struggling U.S. retailer hired Apple whiz Ron Johnson in 2012, the company’s equity value spiked by more than $1 billion. On Monday evening, news of his departure added $350 million. The return of ex-Chief Executive Mike Ullman – the man Johnson replaced – swiftly erased some $700 million. Such big swings make no sense.

COMMENT

A lack of products, focus, and brand image are serious weaknesses for any company. A CEO has to be flexible and willing to use test marketing strategies. Johnson was neither. I would suggest that the European firm Migros look at at Penney as an acquisitions candidate.

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Apr 2, 2013 20:37 UTC

MetroPCS owners can forget a standalone option

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By Robert Cyran and Jeffrey Goldfarb
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

MetroPCS owners should forget about a standalone option. Dissident investors John Paulson and Peter Schoenfeld persuaded two proxy services that the cellphone operator is selling out on the cheap to rival T-Mobile USA and that independence is a better option. While the agitating may bring a sweeter bid, MetroPCS is unlikely to prosper or exist for long on its own.

Mar 28, 2013 16:10 UTC

Malone swoop frees Barclays but traps Ziggo

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By Dominic Elliott

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

John Malone’s latest swoop in the cable sector is true to form. The cable tycoon’s Liberty Global was sitting on a paper profit of over 40 million euros hours after buying a 12.7 pct stake in Dutch cable company Ziggo from Barclays on March 28. Malone has shrewdly exploited a forced seller, after Barclays was lumbered with the millions of Ziggo shares it failed to sell for the company’s private-equity owners days earlier. What’s more, he has plenty of experience in using blocking stakes as a takeover strategy.

Mar 27, 2013 19:32 UTC

Potemkin Dell fight would have optical merits

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

Even losers could emerge as winners from the Dell takeover battle. Blackstone Group, Silver Lake Partners, the Dell board and founder Michael Dell could stand to benefit from the impression of a hard-fought auction. A Potemkin fight, if that’s what it turns out to be, just may not help shareholders quite so much.

Mar 25, 2013 20:58 UTC

Blackstone, Icahn likely to stub toe on Dell

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

Blackstone and Carl Icahn are likely to stub their toe on Dell. Both are offering more for the computer maker than the $24.4 billion from its eponymous founder. But the new bids rely on existing investors keeping a small public stake. In theory that obviates the need to get Michael Dell’s support. In practice, the downsides of such stub equity make it a long shot.

Feb 25, 2013 22:03 UTC

$6.6 bln won’t be enough to end Elan’s rash dreams

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By Robert Cyran

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

Royalty Pharma’s $6.6 billion indicative offer for Elan probably won’t be enough to end the latter’s ambitious dreams. The biotechnology company has grand M&A plans after selling most of the rights to its blockbuster drug, Tysabri, for $3.25 billion earlier this month. Royalty Pharma may well use that cash more wisely than Elan’s current bosses, but a 4 percent premium won’t seal the deal.

Feb 22, 2013 20:55 UTC

Heinz deal suggests Big Food deserves a fresh look

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By Quentin Webb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opini0ns expressed are his own.

After the Warren Buffett-backed takeover of Heinz, Big Food merits a fresh look. Makers of meals, sauces and spreads may offer better value than is immediately obvious.

Feb 19, 2013 18:29 UTC

Offices Depot and Max lucky to have each other

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

Office Depot and OfficeMax are lucky to have each other. Uniting the U.S. purveyors of pens, paper clips and printer toner is about as obvious as it gets in M&A. The potential synergies could be worth more than the market value of the two companies combined. As the Internet ravishes retail, at least this corner can cling to life by merger.

Feb 19, 2013 11:14 UTC

Mega-buyout in UK mobile risks skinny returns

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By Quentin Webb

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

A 10-billion-pound leveraged buyout of Britain’s biggest mobile operator would be dazzling in its sheer ambition. But the payback would be more in short-term glory than long-term financial returns.