Breakingviews

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.

Kellogg might make Heinz-style Buffett target

June 3, 2014

The $25 bln cereal giant’s stock is up on M&A talk. Kellogg may be too big for a Hillshire-like takeover battle and has too much debt for an LBO to be palatable. But an equity-rich deal like the Sage of Omaha and Brazil’s 3G cooked up last year for ketchup-maker Heinz might work.

Trendy new buyout clubs may let down eager patrons

April 8, 2014

Blackstone is enlisting some of its fund investors to help buy auto-parts maker Gates for $5.4 bln. Such collectives are increasingly displacing teams of private equity firms in bigger deals. Disappointing returns from so-called co-investing, though, could make it a passing fad.

Ted Forstmann: a financier the 99 pct could admire

November 21, 2011

The buyout pioneer, dead at 71, was a hard-nosed “barbarian at the gate.” But he re-engineered companies, not just their finances, and disliked junk bonds. And while Forstmann made society pages, he also donated much of his fortune. His was the kind of greed that can be good.

Loan hangover will cast pall over European buyouts

December 2, 2011

Banks have been caught out again. As in 2008, loans for European private equity deals have proved hard to resell or refinance in the bond market. Today’s backlog is smaller and the financial hit is modest. But new buyouts can expect less debt, higher rates and tougher terms.