Dec 9, 2014 20:36 UTC

Merck gives in to M&A frenzy risk assessment

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By Robert Cyran 

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

The M&A frenzy appears to have influenced Merck’s risk assessment. Just hours after unveiling its $8.4 billion acquisition of Cubist Pharmaceuticals on Monday, a judge invalidated patents owned by the antibiotics maker. Potential lost sales are reflected in the billions erased from Merck’s market value.

Dec 8, 2014 20:40 UTC

Merck bets $8.4 bln on more profitable antibiotics

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By Robert Cyran

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

Superbugs may have beneficial side effects – for giant pharmaceutical companies. In agreeing to buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Merck is betting $8.4 billion that the antibiotics used to fight them will become more profitable.

Dec 3, 2014 11:53 UTC

Sinking rouble puts debt squeeze on Russia Inc

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Russia does not have an external debt problem. At around 37 percent of GDP – versus 1.5 to three times GDP, say, for developed European economies – it should be easily manageable. For Russian companies and banks, it’s a different story.

COMMENT

Once the economy starts contracting, and prices of food start rising- support for Mr. Putin will slowly fade.

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Dec 1, 2014 19:43 UTC

If Vodafone wants Liberty it has to get creative

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By Quentin Webb

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

Deals beget deals, as the cliche has it, but still: BT eyes a $15 billion takeover in UK mobile and Vodafone’s measured reaction is to plot a bid for European’s largest cable group, Liberty Global, worth $90 billion? That’s a strategically ambitious way for Vodafone to counter a new threat to its domestic wireless business. The financial logic is harder to see.

Nov 27, 2014 14:22 UTC

SABMiller’s Coca-Cola push is Africa buy signal

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By Robert Cole

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

If there was any doubt about SABMiller’s interest in soft drinks, the brewer’s tie-up with Coca-Cola in Africa should squash them for good. SAB, Coca-Cola and privately held Gutsche Family Investments have agreed to merge bottling assets in southern and eastern Africa into a soft-drinks group with $2.9 billion of annual sales. It is a deal that ticks all the boxes for SAB.

Nov 24, 2014 19:37 UTC

BT is in strong position for mobile M&A

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By Quentin Webb

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

BT is in a strong position for mobile M&A. It has shaken up UK communications by moving into television and by preparing to launch a novel mobile service of its own. Now the fixed-line giant finds itself with a choice of two wireless networks to buy, Telefonica’s O2 unit or Orange and Deutsche Telekom’s EE. There are few likely counter-bidders for either potential target.

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.