Venezuela digs way to distressed seller status

August 14, 2014

The country wants to offload Citgo, its U.S. refinery and pipelines unit. It may be worth up to $15 bln, money that’s sorely needed thanks to President Nicolas Maduro’s barmy economic policies. And the drop in value of heavy-oil assets like Citgo owns makes it a bad time to sell.

Alibaba payments cleanup makes for neater IPO

August 13, 2014

The e-commerce group has rejigged relations with its Alipay affiliate weeks before its planned listing. The move has little impact on earnings, but reduces the risk of regulatory interference. And if the business turns into a behemoth, Alibaba investors get part of that value.

Aussie bid battle questions wine’s standalone case

August 12, 2014

Two buyout groups have submitted rival $3.1 bln offers for the world’s only big listed wine producer. Australia’s Treasury Wine could benefit from better management. But a fragmented market and low brand loyalty also suggests the business is not suitable for the stock market.

Kinder Morgan’s large-number solution: get bigger

August 11, 2014

Energy boss Richard Kinder’s master class in financial engineering is back in session with $71 bln of deals to unite his sprawling pipeline empire. Various partnerships had reached a scale that was limiting returns. The new structure should benefit everyone but Uncle Sam.

China’s e-commerce secret weapon: the delivery guy

August 11, 2014

Fast, cheap delivery has fuelled online shopping, and the growth of companies like Alibaba and Thank a plentiful workforce of low-cost couriers that U.S. rivals can only dream of. While that can last for a few more years, unhelpful demographic change is in the post.

Behold the unversion: an inversion in all but name

August 8, 2014

U.S.-based data protection firm SafeNet may slash its tax rate as part of a cross-border deal. Instead of doing so by acquiring overseas, though, it is simply selling itself to Dutch digital security company Gemalto. It shows the limitations of a possible ban on inversions.

BlackRock is right: European IPOs need more work

August 8, 2014

The giant investor is griping again about new issues. In structure and deal volume, the market is far healthier than when BlackRock spoke out in 2011. Performance is OK, barring a few duds. But there are still too many banks per deal and buyers are still rushed into decisions.

Private equity discord is best collusion defense

August 7, 2014

Blackstone, KKR and TPG are paying $325 mln to resolve allegations that they conspired to limit buyout prices. Three other firms previously settled for less. Carlyle is holding out for now. Legally, there’s safety in numbers. Yet they can’t even agree on how to resolve the case.

Ushering Eric Cantor to revolving door

By Rob Cox
August 7, 2014

The summer parlor game from Wall Street to K Street to Meadow Lane in the Hamptons is guessing where the former U.S. House majority leader will work after decamping from Congress. It’s easy to imagine how a recruiter might try to put his experience to good – and lucrative – use.

Walgreen encounters uncommon inversion boundary

August 6, 2014

The drugstore chain will keep flying the U.S. flag even after buying the rest of Swiss-based Alliance Boots for $15 bln. A backlash against corporate emigration may have affected Walgreen’s decision, but harder numbers probably mattered more. Expect more tax arbitrage deals.