SoftBank and Shrek may lack on-screen chemistry

September 29, 2014

The Japanese conglomerate may offer $3.4 bln for movie studio DreamWorks Animation. Softbank’s giant balance sheet can easily absorb the hit-and-miss earnings of film production. But with each big acquisition, it becomes less clear how the group’s parts fit together.

Sinopec’s petrol station revamp is an uphill job

September 25, 2014

The Chinese oil giant wants to sell more from its 23,000 pump-side stores. But even if non-fuel sales rise sixfold, the unit won’t be worth a lot more than the $58 billion valuation put on it by outside investors. Breakingviews’ calculator spells out the scale of the challenge.

Tax clampdown could deter half-baked pharma M&A

September 23, 2014

The U.S. attack on companies relocating to avoid taxes will calm pharma’s M&A binge. Deals like AbbVie’s purchase of Shire may survive on strategic logic. Pure tax-driven combinations, like Mylan/Abbott, look tricky. That lessens AstraZeneca’s vulnerability to a bid from Pfizer.

Henry Kravis spins a different kind of club deal

September 16, 2014

The buyout baron’s KKR is buying Pioneer’s DJ audio equipment business for $550 mln. It’s Abenomics meets Ibiza for the private equity firm’s latest trendy investment. Kravis is laying down a smooth groove in a funky M&A market, but could be late to the dance music party.

SAB/Heineken could leap antitrust hurdles

September 15, 2014

Heineken calls SABMiller’s bid approach “non-actionable.” Competition problems do exist in Europe, India, Africa and elsewhere. But these could be fixed and a $130 bln tie-up would create an emerging markets titan. The rebuff suggests family control is the real sticking point.

Club Med auction returns to work refreshed

September 12, 2014

Legal action delayed a low-ball MBO by China’s Fosun last year. A counterbid by financier Andrea Bonomi has now forced Fosun to hike its offer to $1.1 bln. Shareholders in the French holiday group have been vindicated for refusing to throw in the towel.

Rakuten’s $1bln U.S. buy stretches loyalty logic

September 10, 2014

Buying U.S. cash-back site Ebates will more than double overseas transaction volumes at Japan’s largest e-commerce firm. It underscores Rakuten’s plan to use its loyalty scheme to distinguish itself from rivals. Yet, as with past deals, it’s unclear how the parts fit together.

General Mills may smother pricey organic target

September 9, 2014

The $33 bln maker of Cheerios is paying $820 mln, a 37 pct premium, for “natural” mac-n-cheese purveyor Annie’s. But big companies often squash growth when they swallow small targets whole. Coca-Cola’s recent stakes in Monster and Green Mountain may offer a better template.

Aussie privatisation push makes for buyer’s market

September 8, 2014

State governments are being encouraged to sell off infrastructure assets. The estimated value of the pipeline is equal to almost three-quarters of the total M&A activity in the country over the past two years. A lack of coordination could leave laggards with lousy valuations.

Vivendi boosts shareholder credentials in GVT sale

August 28, 2014

The French media group says it favors Telefonica’s $10 bln bid for its Brazilian mobile unit. Telefonica could pay more, but it’s good that Vivendi has chosen the surest exit for shareholders. As for rival bidder Telecom Italia, it now faces an uncertain future.