Oct 10, 2014 19:18 UTC

Blackstone sale may kick off next deal trend

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

It’s the end of the beginning for Blackstone. The M&A advice business that Steve Schwarzman and Pete Peterson used as a cornerstone to build their buyout firm three decades ago is being offloaded. Merging it with a fledgling shop run by former Morgan Stanley investment banking chief Paul Taubman potentially heralds the start of something else. The rise in global mergers could spawn a super-boutique or even entice a big bank to buy an indie firm.

Sep 16, 2014 18:39 UTC

Henry Kravis spins a different kind of club deal

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Henry Kravis is spinning a different sort of club deal. The old kind, in which several private equity shops would make an acquisition together, led the buyout baron’s KKR to join the recent hefty settlement of a lawsuit that alleged collusion with other firms. In the new iteration, KKR buys Pioneer’s DJ audio equipment business for $550 million. Kravis is laying down a smooth groove in a funky M&A market.

Sep 16, 2014 07:54 UTC

Hedge-fund-free – the latest Californian fad?

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By Richard Beales

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

Call it the Sacramento Model. In contrast to the famed Yale Model for endowments, Calpers, the $300 billion Californian pension manager, is exiting its $4 billion of hedge fund investments. For retirement funds, Calpers’ hedge-fund free regime could be more than the latest fad from the Golden State.

Sep 8, 2014 07:14 UTC

Aussie privatisation push makes for buyer’s market

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By Una Galani

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

Australia’s privatisation push is creating a buyer’s market. State governments are being encouraged to divest their infrastructure holdings. The assets on the block, which include everything from ports to electricity networks, could be worth A$100 billion ($93 billion), according to Infrastructure Australia. That’s equal to almost three-quarters of the total value of mergers and acquisitions involving an Australian target over the past two years. A lack of coordination between states could leave laggards with lousy valuations.

Aug 29, 2014 16:46 UTC

Square swipes a hollow-looking $6 bln valuation

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By Robert Cyran

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

Square is starting to look oddly hollow. The payments company set up and run by Jack Dorsey is set to raise $200 million in new funding, according to Bloomberg. That would value the company at $6 billion. While big, it’s a deflated figure, considering Square’s former hype, the small amount raised, and tech rivals’ ease securing higher valuations.

Square’s credit card readers for smartphones and tablets are easily spotted in the wilds of flea markets and coffee shops. They are easy to use, and the 2.75 percent they charge per swipe is relatively appealing for small transactions. Last year the company racked up more than $500 million in revenue.

Aug 12, 2014 18:34 UTC

Aussie bid battle questions wine’s standalone case

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By Una Galani

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

Wine may age better in the cellar than on the stock market. A bid battle for Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates – the only big listed producer – has called into question the case for standalone wine companies. The maker of Penfolds could be better-managed but a fragmented market and low brand loyalty also suggests the fruit of the vine may not be suitable for public company treatment.

Aug 8, 2014 18:14 UTC

Behold the unversion: an inversion in all but name

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Behold the unversion. U.S.-based data protection firm SafeNet may very well be able to slash its tax rate as part of a cross-border deal. Instead of doing so by acquiring an overseas company – a move known as an inversion – it is selling itself for $890 million to Dutch digital security outfit Gemalto. The deal shows the limitations of a possible U.S. government ban on inversions.

Aug 7, 2014 19:34 UTC

Private equity discord is best collusion defense

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Even when it might help them, private equity firms can’t seem to cooperate. Blackstone Group, KKR and TPG are now willing to pay a combined $325 million to resolve allegations that they colluded to limit prices on deals. Three other firms previously settled for less. Carlyle Group is still holding out. Legally speaking, there’s safety in numbers. Yet the buyout shops can’t even agree on how to resolve the case.

Aug 4, 2014 07:09 UTC

Treasury Wine resistance withers under KKR assault

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Treasury Wine has decided that a grape is worth more in the bottle than on the vine. The maker of Lindeman’s and Penfolds agreed to open its vaults after the buyout group raised a provisional cash offer to A$3.38 billion ($3.15 billion). Though the bid could yet sour, Treasury’s spell as a listed company looks like it will soon be coming to an end.

Aug 1, 2014 06:29 UTC

U.S.-backed China tech shows investment curb folly

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By Robyn Mak

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

China’s tech companies may be Beijing’s darlings, but they have U.S. dollar funding to thank. The next generation of upstarts look likely to continue the pattern. Foreign currency funds poured $5 billion into venture capital the first half of this year – three times more than local funds raised. The economic benefits these foreign investors bring make the rules keeping them out harder to justify.