Breakingviews

$12.8 bln prescription may clear up pharmacy M&A

March 30, 2015

UnitedHealth should generate savings worth more than the 27 pct premium it’s paying for drug middleman Catamaran. But United is playing catch-up. And its target is usually a buyer. Catamaran’s capitulation indicates benefits managers no longer need a dose of dealmaking.

Silicon Valley trials start as sexism lawsuit ends

March 29, 2015

Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins beat gender discrimination allegations, but the likes of Facebook and Twitter face similar lawsuits. The court of public opinion also has yet to deliver its verdict. Scrutiny of how the tech world treats women is just getting under way.

Dow Chemical tempts fate with $5 bln chlorine sale

March 27, 2015

The company is offloading its bleach and vinyl-related chemicals to smaller rival Olin using the esoteric reverse Morris Trust structure. The valuation looks solid, especially considering the tax savings. Yet investors should remain wary given the history of such complex deals.

Buffett-3G juggernaut can keep on truckin’

March 26, 2015

Kraft Heinz is the third time the Sage of Omaha and the trio behind AB InBev have joined forces, after swoops on the ketchup maker and Tim Hortons. The partners’ patience, financial firepower and industry experience give them big advantages. Bigger deals may lie down the road.

Rob Cox: Pirelli flirts with joke version of hell

March 26, 2015

That’s where the chefs are British, the lovers Swiss and the mechanics French. Pirelli risks becoming the corporate equivalent: the management Italian (as in the joke), its owner a Chinese state enterprise, and other partners Russian. Minority investors won’t find it funny.

Kraft investors bet Heinz can refill secret sauce

March 25, 2015

The Velveeta cheese maker’s stock jumped a third – making the company worth nearly $50 bln – on news of its sale to the ketchup giant, which 3G Capital and Warren Buffett took private in 2013. The math works if Heinz can repeat its margin magic and leap hurdles to scaling Kraft.

U.S. mega-mall deal features bazaar tactics

March 18, 2015

Macerich rejected an unsolicited $22 bln takeover bid from larger rival Simon Property. The suitor’s touted 30 pct premium may really be worth less. Even so, the target’s decision to shield itself by undoing good corporate governance is the more disingenuous haggling move.

Valeant’s $11 bln bid may have scored two knockouts

March 16, 2015

By sweetening its offer for Salix, the acquisitive drugmaker now backed by hedgie Bill Ackman put rival suitor Endo on the mat. The extra cash and a balance sheet reeling from the Allergan deal leave the business model looking wobbly. Valeant may have just rung its own bell too.

M&A world could teach niche U.S. colleges

March 16, 2015

The collapse of liberal arts enclave Sweet Briar is bad news for cash-strapped schools across the country. Sagging enrollment has pushed some institutions to offer debt-shy students big discounts on tuition. But that risks a spiral. Merging may be one way to ease the pressure.

Mall king’s $22 bln bid tests its hostile nature

March 9, 2015

A frustrated Simon Property unveiled a bear-hug offer to buy smaller rival Macerich. The top U.S. shopping center owner has used similar tactics many times before, with mixed results. The structure of the real estate industry tends to require aggression but it also can backfire.