Rob Cox: EU’s new trustbuster begins with a bang

April 21, 2015

Since becoming Brussels’ antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager has taken action against the twin monsters of the digital and energy worlds: Google and Gazprom. But her battles on the Eastern and Western fronts of market abuse may leave Europe’s M&A boom plenty of room to flourish.

Teva’s $40 bln hostile bid puts hope over reality

April 21, 2015

The Israeli drugmaker needs a deal to shore up falling sales. Smaller rival Mylan offers that and oodles of synergies. A tie-up, though, would face antitrust concerns, require high leverage and have to get around a powerful poison pill. No wonder the market is skeptical.

Agnellis pay up to claim mini-Buffett status

April 15, 2015

Exor, the Italian family’s holding company, is offering a premium to buy PartnerRe out of a merger with fellow reinsurer Axis. The price is full and the bid lacks its rival’s synergies. But debt is cheap, and Berkshire Hathaway-style cash flow could fund further acquisitions.

Wall Street bids slow farewell to GE fee darling

April 13, 2015

The U.S. conglomerate has been the best corporate client for investment bankers since 2000, spending some $5.1 bln for assistance. Shrinking GE Capital will keep M&A dealmakers happy. The unit’s borrowing, however, is the biggest moneymaker. Much of that could now be at risk.

Guest view: What’s holding technology M&A back?

By Guest Contributor
April 9, 2015

Though deal-making is near boom-time highs, most of it’s not about making bold bets on the future, says Andreessen Horowitz’s managing partner. Activism plays a role. But as newly public tech firms that are more resistant to external pressure mature, the dynamic will shift.

Shell could win from bold $70 bln swoop on BG

April 8, 2015

The oil major is offering a fat 50 pct premium for its UK rival. But the share price was depressed and the synergies are attractive. The deal could prove a smart and opportunistic way to boost growth via deepwater assets and liquid natural gas – provided Shell keeps costs down.

FedEx bets $5 bln on Europe’s potential with TNT

April 7, 2015

The U.S. shipper’s cash bid for its Dutch rival comes two years after Brussels killed a takeover by rival UPS. The price is 20 times the weakened target’s 2016 earnings. That sounds high. But a strong dollar, cheap debt and sizeable synergies could help deliver decent returns.

April 1 jokes expose greater fools of finance

April 2, 2015

A Tesla prank involving a fake new product caused its shares to twitch. Meanwhile, Tinder for Uber seemed all too credible in a Silicon Valley littered with this-for-that business models. When investors can be easily duped, it’s a sign markets are high on hype and distortions.

Rob Cox: Eat or be eaten is real Kraft calculus

March 31, 2015

It had a chance to buy Heinz two years ago. Instead of securing more of the combined value for itself, it’s now ceding control and renting its balance sheet. While selling to Warren Buffett gives the board cover, it raises questions about the sort of managers shareholders want.

Charter deal may not be final word on Bright House

March 31, 2015

The $10.4 bln acquisition, contingent on Comcast buying Time Warner Cable, suggests some confidence those rivals will get approval. If not, however, the U.S. cable puzzle could realign. Charter again might chase Time Warner Cable, which actually has first dibs on Bright House.