Dec 11, 2013 06:43 UTC

Private equity taps happy hour at Oriental Brewery

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By Una Galani

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

Oriental Brewery may produce a happy hour for its private equity investors. Belgium’s Anheuser-Busch InBev has started discussions over buying back the South Korean brewer, which it sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 2009 for $1.8 billion. A back-of-the-beer mat calculation suggests that would earn OB’s private equity backers a 34 percent annualized return.

Dec 3, 2013 12:19 UTC

Versace’s valuation is as full-on as its outfits

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By Quentin Webb

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

Versace’s valuation looks as full-on as its outfits. The Italian fashion house, which is sizing up buyout firms and sovereign wealth outfits to fund a capital increase, reckons it is worth more than 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) and could triple in value in three years. There is real potential, because Versace is so behind industry trends. But a big price tag for a skimpy minority stake next to a powerful family? That’s a hard look to pull off.

Oct 23, 2013 04:13 UTC

Li Ka-shing still has what investors want

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By Una Galani

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

Li Ka-shing may be an octogenarian but he still knows when to buy and sell. An analysis of 16 listed parts of the Hong Kong tycoon’s telecoms-to-energy empire, with a combined market capitalization of more than $170 billion, shows a mixed record of delivering shareholder returns. Yet Li’s flagship holding companies have matched or beaten the market over the past two and five years. For investors, it pays to invest as close as possible to the man himself.

Sep 1, 2013 19:55 UTC

Wall Street megadeal quest reaches end of rainbow

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

After a decade-long quest, investment bankers on both sides of the Atlantic may have finally discovered the end of the rainbow. A $130 billion transaction between Vodafone and Verizon, longtime partners in U.S. wireless, would translate into a highly coveted – and given the post-crisis pace of M&A, much-needed – pot of golden fees.

Jul 12, 2013 17:30 UTC

Fruity American M&A saga may be about to ripen

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

An epic American M&A saga may be about to come full circle. Nearly 25 years after it was carved up in a landmark deal, much of fruit group Del Monte could be put back together. Along the way, the U.S. food giant has become an enormous part of Wall Street – and even City of London – lore. It’s practically a textbook unto itself for merger lawyers and bankers.

COMMENT

As soon as I saw the word “epic” in your story I quit reading. Please stop the use of this ridiculous word.

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May 16, 2013 18:23 UTC

Bernanke deserves art museum spot next to Pollock

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By Richard Beales

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

Ben Bernanke probably deserves a spot somewhere in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A record $495 million sale at Christie’s on Wednesday evening set new highs for Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat and other contemporary artists. More collectors than ever have $20 million to spend on a single work. The buoyancy of the market paints a picture of an art world indebted to the Federal Reserve chairman and his alternative asset-friendly monetary policy.

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 15, 2013 13:37 UTC

CVC takes opportunistic tilt at Betfair

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By Quentin Webb

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

CVC is taking an opportunistic tilt at Betfair. The buyout giant’s admission that it may make a bid for the UK gambling outfit follows Betfair’s terrible run since flotation. But CVC could struggle to persuade investors to fold their hands at this stage.

Apr 9, 2013 22:21 UTC

J.C. Penney exposes inefficiency valuing CEOs

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By Richard Beales

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

The debacle at J.C. Penney exposes a glaring inefficiency in how the market values corporate chieftains. When the struggling U.S. retailer hired Apple whiz Ron Johnson in 2012, the company’s equity value spiked by more than $1 billion. On Monday evening, news of his departure added $350 million. The return of ex-Chief Executive Mike Ullman – the man Johnson replaced – swiftly erased some $700 million. Such big swings make no sense.

COMMENT

A lack of products, focus, and brand image are serious weaknesses for any company. A CEO has to be flexible and willing to use test marketing strategies. Johnson was neither. I would suggest that the European firm Migros look at at Penney as an acquisitions candidate.

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