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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Jun 12, 2014 13:07 UTC

Harvard could get smarter about its endowment

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By Richard Beales

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

Harvard University could get smarter about its $33 billion endowment. Jane Mendillo, who has managed the Ivy League university’s portfolio for six years, is leaving at the end of 2014. Her predecessor is partly to blame for crisis losses, but Harvard nevertheless seems to have overpaid for mediocre returns.

Jun 3, 2014 16:31 UTC

Kellogg might make Heinz-style Buffett target

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By Kevin Allison

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

Kellogg looks like someone wants to eat it for breakfast. Takeover speculation has helped the U.S. company’s shares rise more than 8 percent since April, bestowing it with a $25 billion market value. Kellogg may be too big for a Hillshire-like takeover battle, and carries too much debt to make a traditional leveraged buyout palatable. But a deal like the one Warren Buffett and a group of Brazilian financiers struck for ketchup-maker Heinz last year might work.

May 30, 2014 14:46 UTC

Henry Kravis cultivates private equity perennials

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Henry Kravis is sowing the seeds of private equity perennials. U.S. buyout shops like his are selling companies to each other at a breakneck pace. It’s easy to be skeptical about these so-called secondaries. But KKR’s $1.6 billion acquisition of landscaper Brickman Group may turn out to be an example of how such deals can flourish.

Apr 28, 2014 19:23 UTC

Silicon Valley exceptionalism only travels so far

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Airbnb isn’t finding New York very hospitable. The room-sharing site squared off in court last week with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over information he has subpoenaed about the many Airbnb customers his office suspects are breaking the Empire State’s laws. It’s a good example of what happens when tech entrepreneurs stray from their more accommodating Silicon Valley environs.

COMMENT

That sort of bluster won’t resonate much beyond the tech echo chamber. Airbnb’s ride-sharing cousin, Uber, is getting a cool reception in big cities like Miami, Berlin and Paris.
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