Breakingviews

Fund glut will send Asia’s buyout barons off-piste

December 30, 2015

Local private equity firms are flush with unspent capital. Though that’s a global issue, it’s more acute in Asia due to a dearth of sizeable takeover targets. Firms will be tempted to overpay for assets, buy businesses from rivals, or drift into unfamiliar kinds of dealmaking.

Qihoo gets its $9 bln buyout, against the odds

December 18, 2015

The biggest take-private of a U.S.-listed Chinese company has been finalised despite funding challenges. Tapping retail investors may have helped raise the $6 bln equity cheque. But peers eyeing similar buyouts, before re-listing back home, could find their journey harder.

Avon colors new activist-buyout battle lines

December 4, 2015

The makeup company is under fire from a pushy investor and may call on private equity firm Cerberus to help. Motorola and NCR similarly just sold minority stakes to Silver Lake and Blackstone. This growing white-knight role suggests the targets aren’t the only ones with troubles.

The Economist’s elite owners seek elite print run

July 28, 2015

The Agnellis, the Rothschilds, et al may buy more as Pearson sells. A 6 pct dividend yield has appeal. If the valuation – recently 730 mln stg – and payout are to keep rising, however, the weekly has to succeed where other publications have failed and turn its top line around.

New drivers could rev Formula One’s billions

June 25, 2015

Private equity backer CVC is ready to speed off after a decade of turbocharged returns, while 84-year-old patriarch Bernie Ecclestone may not be doing enough to tune high-tech motor racing’s commercial chassis. Qatari and U.S. owners might just restore full power.

M&A predators stalk Michael Milken’s ball

April 29, 2015

The financial elite prowling Beverly Hills at the behest of the former Drexel Burnham boss worried about everything from China to cybersecurity to stock valuations. Three former Treasury chiefs lamented a lame Washington. When it came to deals, however, animal spirits ran wild.

Pharma Arbageddon fears keep traders on sidelines

April 27, 2015

Teva is after Mylan, which wants Perrigo. Such multibillion-dollar hostile deals are usually catnip for M&A punters. Recent failures have made them skittish, though. And these two battles come with cross-border complexity, antitrust and a poison pill. No wonder arbs are wary.

Blackstone sale may kick off next deal trend

October 10, 2014

Spinning off its advisory arm marks an end to the buyout firm’s beginning. Merging it with ex-Morgan Stanley banker Paul Taubman’s shop potentially heralds the start of something else. The rise in global M&A could spawn a super-boutique or entice a big bank to buy an indie firm.

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.

Aussie bid battle questions wine’s standalone case

August 12, 2014

Two buyout groups have submitted rival $3.1 bln offers for the world’s only big listed wine producer. Australia’s Treasury Wine could benefit from better management. But a fragmented market and low brand loyalty also suggests the business is not suitable for the stock market.