Breakingviews

Coach tries LVMH model on for size with shoe buy

January 6, 2015

The U.S. leather-goods purveyor is paying $574 mln for Stuart Weitzman, the first acquisition since its 1941 founding. While this looks like an admission its core brand has maxed out, Coach is betting it can use its know-how to expand other marques like LVMH and Kering have.

A double-speak guide to modern markets

January 5, 2015

As the market perpetually shifts, so do the rhetorical stylings its players use to talk their way out of problems. The past year saw above-average creativity when it came to saying one thing and meaning another. Breakingviews offers up 10 euphemisms we’d like to see disappear.

Crude slump will stoke European oil and gas M&A

January 2, 2015

The sharp drop in the price of Brent might make it harder to get deals done in the short term. But if the downturn persists, financial distress will put some small players in play. Larger, more defensive mergers, designed to create value by sharing costs, are also possible.

Tesco will have to fight for its independence

December 30, 2014

At $40 bln, the UK’s No. 1 grocer would be an M&A mouthful. A leveraged buyout looks tricky but strategic buyers have a rare opportunity. Tesco’s long-suffering current shareholders might jump at a chance to cash out. Much depends on the person chosen as the new chair.

M&A spin doctors could get swept up in the action

December 29, 2014

Financial PR specialists have been buoyed by the boom in mergers and activist investing. History suggests independent outfits like Joele Frank or Brunswick may be tempted to find an investor or bigger owner. They should at least have enough deal nous to know when to sell.

Acquirers can expect more M&A investor skeptics

December 22, 2014

There’s no reason to think the $3.2 trln pace of deals will slow in 2015, but the uproarious reception from shareholders is already showing signs of subsiding. As easy pickings of squeezing costs from overlapping operations evaporate, the laws of corporate finance will prevail.

More than Slim odds America Movil buys T-Mobile

December 22, 2014

Carlos Slim’s telecoms empire needs to reduce its dependence on Mexico. The fourth U.S. wireless carrier is cheap, parent Deutsche Telekom doesn’t want it and there’s strategic logic to a deal. The increasingly frightful competition in U.S. telecoms may be a sticking point.

Review: An Icelandic tycoon’s sorry saga

December 19, 2014

Thor Bjorgolfsson embodies Iceland’s volcanic rise and fall. He made a fortune in post-Soviet Europe, lost a bank in 2008 and caused Deutsche Bank years of grief with Actavis. This deal junkie’s memoir is self-critical in parts - but unlikely to win many new friends in Reykjavik.

Dry powder may explode in buyout barons’ faces

December 18, 2014

Everything is going up in private equity except deal volume. Acquisition multiples are at a record high, as is competition from corporate buyers. For big firms such as Apollo and Blackstone, $1.5 trln of purchasing power may be tough to deploy without cratering returns.

M&A “clear day” defenses can cloud investor rights

December 17, 2014

Anti-takeover protections adopted before threats arise are more apt to weather legal scrutiny. It’s one reason Allergan was able to resist Valeant’s $52 bln bid. When triggered reactively, they’re considered unfair surprises. Either way, shareholders often get unneeded cover.