Jun 5, 2013 08:12 UTC

Asian tycoons give LBOs an eastern twist

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Asia’s tycoons are taking a page from the leveraged buyout manual. Shuanghui’s$4.7 billion takeover of U.S. pork producer Smithfield, like recent deals in Thailand and Singapore, combines hefty leverage with limited synergies.

Jun 4, 2013 21:36 UTC

Could UBS resurrect partnership investment banking?

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Goldman Sachs’s initial public offering in 1999 seemed to hammer a nail in the coffin for the partnership model in investment banking. Now activist investment firm Knight Vinke is suggesting that UBS might adopt something like a partnership structure as part of its plan to split wealth management from investment banking. The breakup idea is overambitious today. Only with time, luck and possibly more capital, could an employee-owned UBS investment bank be made to work.

May 30, 2013 07:59 UTC

Double arbitrage validates China’s pork purchase

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By John Foley

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

China has been rearing pigs for at least 6,000 years. Now its biggest pork producer is paying $4.7 billion to import them from the United States. What explains the reversal? It’s not just that richer consumers demand more meat, but that poor decisions by China’s planners have created a double arbitrage.

May 20, 2013 20:17 UTC

Marissa Mayer puts exclamation point back in Yahoo

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Marissa Mayer has made her mark on Yahoo in less than a year. The website chief’s $1.1 billion deal to buy blogging site Tumblr on Monday goes a long way to restoring the faded and vainglorious exclamation point to the company’s name.

May 15, 2013 21:54 UTC

Speech-tech firm’s M&A machine could go in reverse

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By Robert Cyran

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

Over the past decade, Nuance Communications has been on a frenetic shopping spree. The $6 billion firm now encompasses businesses ranging from medical transcription to powering Siri on the iPhone. But Nuance, the M&A machine, is sputtering. Margins are falling, the stock hasn’t advanced in five years, and debt is accumulating. Moreover, Carl Icahn recently upped his stake in the company from 9 percent to 11 percent in what could signal an end to acquisitions – even the start of a breakup.

May 13, 2013 22:29 UTC

Could Silver Lake quietly be rooting for Icahn?

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Carl Icahn may have a secret admirer. The uppity billionaire fired his latest salvo in the battle over Dell late last week, proposing a half-baked leveraged recapitalization. The plan could be a ploy to get Silver Lake Partners and founder Michael Dell to sweeten their $24.4 billion bid. It’s hard not to wonder, though, if the buyout firm isn’t quietly rooting for Icahn.

May 3, 2013 17:53 UTC

PepsiCo resistance against activists looks futile

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By Robert Cyran

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

A PepsiCo breakup looks like a matter of time. Investors with a hankering for corporate restructurings have taken stakes in the $128 billion snacks and drinks conglomerate. Splitting the two operations in some way would be straight out of their standard playbook. Though the company has opposed such efforts in the past, the success of Nelson Peltz at Cadbury and his interest in another food biggie, Mondelez, may be hard to resist.

Apr 29, 2013 19:00 UTC

Chrysler value spat may offer Fiat silver lining

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By Rob Cox

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

It took about a generation before Italian immigrants to the United States adopted the ways of their new home and shook off those of the old country. Italy’s premier industrial enterprise may do it in a matter of years. A spat over Fiat’s plans to fully acquire Chrysler, Detroit’s number three carmaker, could hasten the process.

Apr 22, 2013 15:41 UTC

ABB takes a shine to solar

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By Quentin Webb

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

ABB’s contrarian push into solar energy looks smart. The Swiss group is buying Nasdaq-listed Power-One for $1 billion in cash – a fully priced deal, given the solar industry’s current financial misery. But ABB insists Power-One occupies a sweet spot. That sounds plausible, and long term, the deal should add up.

Apr 17, 2013 21:33 UTC

Crackdowns only make M&A leaks more tempting

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

 

Cracking down on M&A leaks may only make them more tempting. Merger practitioners say fresh research showing that news is trickling out less often about companies for sale can partly be attributed to tougher rules and enforcement. Though loose lips come with less chance of deals closing, they also coincide with much higher premiums. Some bankers will always fancy that mix of risk and reward.