Nov 19, 2014 20:29 UTC

Activist row bigger than Keystone for TransCanada

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By Kevin Allison

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

A sparring match with an activist is a bigger deal for TransCanada than the company’s troubled Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed $8 billion conduit of tar-sands oil from Alberta to Texas failed to muster enough votes in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday night. But even if the long-delayed project dies, the lost value could pale next to the extra lucre a New York hedge fund thinks shareholders would reap from a breakup of the $35 billion company.

Nov 18, 2014 14:57 UTC

AstraZeneca struggles to advance value defence

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By Neil Unmack

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

AstraZeneca is struggling to advance its value defence. The UK pharma group fought Pfizer’s unsolicited $119 billion bid earlier this year by promising growth. It is now reiterating its punchy revenue targets. But Astra is only inching forward. The chances of seeing off another assault by its U.S. rival have been improved more by American curbs on tax-driven M&A than by self-help.

Nov 18, 2014 14:45 UTC

Valeant’s activist deal too clever by half

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By Richard Beales and Robert Cyran

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. 

Valeant has tried a seven-month M&A experiment that boss Michael Pearson – and other corporate chiefs – should think twice about repeating. The $45 billion drug company’s failed tilt at Allergan alongside Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square landed a $400 million windfall. But with Actavis snatching the quarry, Ackman and Allergan’s owners have made out best. Valeant lost time and risked legally questionable tactics.

Nov 17, 2014 19:04 UTC

Baker Hughes wins tactical $35 bln battle

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By Kevin Allison

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

The Baker Hughes chief executive must be feeling satisfied. Martin Craighead played hard-to-get and it helped his company squeeze a premium north of 50 percent out of Halliburton, which on Monday agreed to acquire its smaller U.S. oilfield services rival for about $35 billion in cash and stock. Halliburton’s $2 billion annual cost savings goal covers the premium, but only just – and the benefits may fall short of that target.

Nov 14, 2014 19:19 UTC

Halliburton can stump up $30 bln for Baker Hughes

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By Kevin Allison

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

Baker Hughes may be worth more than investors think. Shares of the No. 3 U.S. oilfield services firm jumped 15 percent on Thursday after news broke of deal talks with the $46 billion Halliburton. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests the industry No. 2 should be willing to pay nearly 40 percent more than Baker Hughes’ $22 billion undisturbed market valuation to seal a deal.

Nov 13, 2014 19:38 UTC

Buffett’s $4.7 bln Duracell deal a double positive

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By Robert Cyran and Kevin Allison

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Warren Buffett’s $4.7 billion Duracell deal is more positive than negative. Berkshire Hathaway is paying for its latest acquisition by trading its stake in Procter & Gamble for the consumer stalwart’s battery unit. Swapping a reliable staple for a declining business looks odd. But the transaction is structured in a way that means both sides are getting a decent deal.

Nov 11, 2014 22:42 UTC

Steve Cohen’s loot could land in undeserving hands

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By Reynolds Holding

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

SAC Capital’s ill-gotten gains could be headed for undeserving pockets. A $600 million settlement between Steve Cohen’s hedge fund – now called Point72 Asset Management – and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will go to investors on the other side of the illegal transactions. Better them than Uncle Sam. But the real victims were drug firms Elan and Wyeth, whose data SAC’s trader misappropriated.

Nov 6, 2014 16:45 UTC

Cable M&A wave washes over the Caribbean

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By Quentin Webb

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

The cable M&A wave has hit the Caribbean. London-listed Cable & Wireless Communications will buy private cable group Columbus International for $3 billion including debt. With this deal, CWC aims to become the region’s top “quad-play” operator, selling mobile, landline, television and broadband together. The deal is pricey, unexpected, oddly structured and brave. But as in several European deals, the potential to cut costs and grow faster might offset these concerns.

Nov 5, 2014 19:13 UTC

Carlyle buys a shovel-maker for deal gold rush

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By Quentin Webb

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

In a gold rush, it pays to sell the shovels. Carlyle, the U.S.-based private equity firm, is teaming up with British publisher Euromoney to test the adage for the modern era. With stock sales, debt issuance and M&A booming, they’re acquiring Dealogic, a seller of financial data, for $700 million.

Nov 3, 2014 18:03 UTC

LabCorp deal tests positive for value destruction

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By Robert Cyran

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

Laboratory Corp of America’s $6.1 billion deal for Covance tests positive for value destruction. The strategic logic behind adding the clinical trial outsourcer to the firm that checks patients’ blood and other fluids is hazy. Shareholders’ financial diagnosis is damning, too. They swabbed some $700 million off LabCorp as cost cuts fell far short of the 32 percent premium paid.