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.

Jul 9, 2014 17:55 UTC

PetSmart activists barking up the right tree

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By Kevin Allison

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

PetSmart’s activist shareholders are barking up the right tree. Jana Partners and Longview Asset Management, which together own about a one-fifth stake, have commanded the U.S. purveyor of dog food and toys to roll over and sell itself. While there are other options to enhance shareholder returns, a deal with Petco, the smaller rival controlled by TPG and Leonard Green, could be the pick of the litter.

Jul 8, 2014 15:56 UTC

Supercharged IPO tax spoils need splitting

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By Robert Cyran

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

Initial public offerings that generate extra tax spoils are in the spotlight. KKR and Silver Lake are listing web hosting company GoDaddy, three years after buying it for $2.25 billion. The use of what’s called an “Up-C” structure means the company will float with big potential tax deductions on its books. In GoDaddy’s case, investors and sponsors will both benefit. But other IPOs with Up-Cs have seen more dubious arrangements.

Jul 7, 2014 20:22 UTC

Doubling down on First Data may be KKR’s best bet

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb and Richard Beales

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Doubling down on First Data may have been KKR’s best bet. The extra cash just injected into the payment processor means the $29 billion acquisition has now absorbed over $10 billion of equity, one of the highest sums ever for a leveraged buyout. A Breakingviews analysis, however, suggests that a return finally beckons.

Jul 1, 2014 06:14 UTC

Private equity’s bad habit: Asian minority stakes

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By Una Galani

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

Private equity firms have developed a bad habit in Asia. They are investing record amounts in minority stakes in listed companies. Investors dislike such deals because they can buy the shares themselves. History also suggests that giving up control is fraught with risks.

COMMENT

With risk comes reward and as Asia continues to be a major engine of continued global economy growth, the PE investments may prove to be succintly sound.

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