Jun 4, 2014 18:26 UTC

Voracious buyers find the meat on Sara Lee’s bones

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By Kevin Allison

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

Voracious buyers are finding the meat on Sara Lee’s bones. The old consumer conglomerate broke itself up into meat-focused Hillshire Brands and coffee-roaster D.E Master Blenders 1753 in 2012 after spurning takeover offers worth about $12 billion, according to press reports at the time. It looked like a raw deal – until now.

Jun 3, 2014 16:31 UTC

Kellogg might make Heinz-style Buffett target

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By Kevin Allison

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

Kellogg looks like someone wants to eat it for breakfast. Takeover speculation has helped the U.S. company’s shares rise more than 8 percent since April, bestowing it with a $25 billion market value. Kellogg may be too big for a Hillshire-like takeover battle, and carries too much debt to make a traditional leveraged buyout palatable. But a deal like the one Warren Buffett and a group of Brazilian financiers struck for ketchup-maker Heinz last year might work.

Jun 2, 2014 18:47 UTC

Valeant urges $54 bln deal with carrot, two sticks

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By Robert Cyran

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

Valeant is pushing its $54 billion deal with the help of a carrot and two sticks. The pharmaceutical group raised its offer for Allergan again on Friday, on the condition that the board of its target cooperates. Meanwhile hedge fund boss Bill Ackman on Monday threatened to unseat six directors – and Valeant could yet decide to go fully hostile. But questions over Valeant’s own stock remain its biggest weakness.

May 29, 2014 06:16 UTC

Alibaba hints at overseas push with SingPost stake

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Alibaba hasn’t even completed its U.S. initial public offering, but already it is striking out overseas. A $249 million stake in logistics group Singapore Post targets one area where the Chinese e-commerce group may be able to apply its talent. But the concrete benefits of the deal are unclear – besides focusing investors’ attention on the potential value of growth outside the People’s Republic.

May 28, 2014 06:17 UTC

Korean chat app sends mixed valuation messages

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By Robyn Mak 

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

What’s the value of mobile chat apps? Investors have been scratching their heads about the topic ever since Facebook slapped a $19 billion price tag on WhatsApp earlier this year. The recent backdoor listing of South Korea’s Kakao offers a new data point. But its user metrics and revenue numbers still offer a mixed message on valuation.

May 27, 2014 15:48 UTC

Failed bid would leave Astra under pressure

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

The likely failure of U.S. drugmaker Pfizer’s $119 billion bid for AstraZeneca, which was due to lapse on May 26, would leave the frustrated buyer no worse off. But the target has much to prove. Some of its shareholders welcomed a possible takeover – and could again.

May 24, 2014 12:34 UTC

Hacked eBay exposes itself to another attack

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By Richard Beales

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

EBay just exposed itself to another attack. Carl Icahn buried the hatchet with the online auctioneer’s board before it came out that records of 145 million customers got hacked. That means there’s an opening for another uppity investor to pressure eBay’s chief executive and directors.

May 21, 2014 16:13 UTC

Astra-Pfizer needs a fresh start later in the year

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

AstraZeneca should not reengage with Pfizer in the dying days of the takeover timetable. Talks now would either be fruitless or delay a proper restart later.

May 20, 2014 15:35 UTC

Rob Cox: ITT’s ghost hangs over Silicon Valley

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

The number of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley familiar with the work of Harold Geneen would hardly fill a 140-character tweet. After all, Geneen wasn’t a technologist, the inventor of a new computing language or the founder of a seminal startup. He was the original M&A machine – the man whose deal-making 50 years ago turned ITT into a multibillion-dollar conglomerate.

May 19, 2014 15:35 UTC

AT&T puts shareholders on hold for DirecTV

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

AT&T is putting its shareholders on hold to buy DirecTV. Its $67 billion acquisition of the satellite TV operator announced on Sunday brings with it an unexpectedly robust $1.6 billion of cost savings. Even so, these don’t quite cover the cost of the premium. In any case, AT&T says it will use the money to roll out rural broadband service. Customers and regulators are getting the first call.