Breakingviews

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.

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.

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.

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.

Murdoch miscalculation points to Time Warner value

August 6, 2014

The media mogul abruptly yanked an $80 bln offer after failing to anticipate his quarry’s resolve and price demands of investors. Fox shares rallied while Time Warner’s retreated toward their pre-bid level. That leaves refusenik boss Jeff Bewkes with something more to prove.

SoftBank’s U.S. mobile retreat is least bad option

August 6, 2014

The Japanese group has bowed to hostile regulators and scrapped its Sprint unit’s $32 bln takeover of T-Mobile US. Withdrawing avoids months of antitrust limbo and leaves open the option of a future deal. For now, SoftBank’s ambitions in American mobile will be more modest.

Gannett split puts digital on wrong side of divide

August 5, 2014

The media company is spinning off newspapers, including USA Today, to unburden its TV arm. Cars.com, which Gannett is buying at a $2.5 bln valuation, would have buffered the weaker half in a similar way to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp carve-up. Instead, print must stand on its own.

Flaky Iliad bid muddies T-Mobile US sale odyssey

August 1, 2014

The $16 bln French telco has offered $15 bln for 57 pct of the No. 4 U.S. mobile operator. That’s bold, with financing not immediately to hand and the claimed premium reliant on improbable synergies. But the intervention may intensify antitrust objections to Sprint’s rival offer.

French T-Mo bid looks like peak TMT Entrepreneur

August 1, 2014

A debt boom has allowed TMT dealmakers like John Malone, Masayoshi Son and Patrick Drahi to finance their ever-bigger dreams. Now French billionaire Xavier Niel has made an unexpected $15 bln bid for 57 pct of Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile US unit. He risks over-reaching.

REITs and MLPs make tax inversions a diversion

July 31, 2014

U.S. authorities are letting Windstream call its telecom cables real estate, qualifying them for tax breaks. And a partnership will shield Hess assets from the IRS. Politicians, though, are indignant over firms that move overseas – even when home-grown tax loopholes are costlier.