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.

Feb 12, 2015 20:13 UTC

Expedia indicates first-class M&A tickets remain

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By Kevin Allison

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

Expedia’s plan to buy Orbitz Worldwide indicates that some first-class M&A tickets remain available. The online travel agent’s shares jumped 16 percent after it said it would pay $1.6 billion, including debt, to absorb its smaller rival. Despite evidence of fewer easy pickings, Expedia shows why the deal boom still has some runway.

Feb 12, 2015 15:16 UTC

Yahoo’s Alibaba spinoff attracts big discount

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By Robert Cyran

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

Yahoo can’t even earn a reward for doing what shareholders wanted. The company’s plan for a tax-free spinoff of its stake in Alibaba looks logical. But a Breakingviews calculator suggests investors are attaching a 34 percent discount to the U.S. tech firm’s Alibaba shares – assuming, that is, Yahoo’s core business is worth something.

Feb 5, 2015 20:20 UTC

Pfizer’s generics injection lifts mood for breakup

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By Robert Cyran

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

Pfizer has made more than its share of value-destroying acquisitions. The pharmaceutical giant’s $15 billion purchase of Hospira could reverse that history. The injectable-drug maker’s strength in non-branded medications should boost Pfizer’s own generics unit – and open the way for spinning it off.

Feb 4, 2015 18:56 UTC

Smucker deal may keep activists in Kibbles ‘n Bits

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By Kevin Allison

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

J M Smucker’s $5.8 billion purchase of Big Heart Pet Brands may keep investor activists in Kibbles ’n Bits. The $11 billion owner of Folgers coffee, Jif peanut butter and eponymous fruit spreads should gain bargaining power with retailers by bundling human treats with dog food. But the odd combination may elicit a Pavlovian response from uppity shareholders.

Feb 2, 2015 17:24 UTC

CRH’s $7.4 bln buy reveals M&A tolerance

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By Chris Hughes

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

Here is a deal with all the red flags of M&A – ambition, leverage and a jumbo share placing. Yet the market is spurring on CRH’s 6.5 billion euro ($7.4 billion) purchase of surplus assets from European cement rivals Lafarge and Holcim. The traditional criteria for judging such deals don’t apply.

Jan 26, 2015 19:12 UTC

U.S. $16 bln paper deal requires precise folding

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By Kevin Allison

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

Delivering on the promise of a $16 billion U.S. paper merger may require some precision folding. Stockholders in packaging giants Rock-Tenn and MeadWestvaco will share their combined company evenly, with a roughly balanced board. Investors are already inking in $300 million of promised annual savings, pushing up the stocks of both companies. But mergers that look equal can still provoke business and cultural upheaval.

Jan 22, 2015 22:29 UTC

RBC’s foray south a pricey bet that two’s a charm

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

Royal Bank of Canada is placing a pricey bet that the second time’s a charm for a foray south of the border. The Canadian titan is forking over $5.4 billion for Beverly Hills-based City National little more than three years after it cut a painful retreat from U.S. retail banking. This time around, RBC boss David McKay, who took the reins last August, has targeted a growing franchise in a coveted part of the market. But he’s also paying through the nose for it.

Jan 21, 2015 14:50 UTC

Old M&A dogs try old tricks with new activist fund

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By Richard Beales

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

Can old dogs make money out of old tricks? That’s the question facing ex-JPMorgan M&A boss and finance chief Doug Braunstein and longtime deal lawyer Jim Woolery. The two have collected $250 million and a network of corporate chieftains to kick-start a fund that will invest in companies and persuade them to do deals that boost share value. The question is whether there’s room for permanently well-mannered activism in 2015.