Oracle deal provides partly cloudy forecast

June 23, 2014

In a way the $5.3 bln deal for Micros is a relief for shareholders. Even if it’s the start of an M&A binge, it’s not at a crazy valuation. Then again, longtime partner Micros is more an add-on than a way to supercharge Oracle’s effort in the cloud. That challenge remains for now.

Priceline’s OpenTable buy is costly appetizer

June 13, 2014

The $64 bln online travel outfit is paying a 46 pct premium – $2.6 bln in cash – to snag the restaurant reservation site. Each helps small businesses and customers find each other. But the tariff only makes sense if Priceline can plug many more of both into OpenTable worldwide.

Italian disaster will hardly slow cruise industry

By Edward Hadas
January 16, 2012

The sinking reflects badly on a $34 bln business which has grown 8 pct a year for two decades. It will cost the trade more than operator Carnival’s $85-$95 mln estimate. But the industry – and passengers – will come back. One tragedy will not reverse a well-established trend.

Lululemon’s downward dog gnaws at yoga bubble

By Guest Contributor
June 8, 2012

The $9 bln maker of pricey sweatpants rattled investors’ chakras by warning of slower than expected sales and profit growth. Yoga may still be one of the world’s fastest-growing forms of exercise, but Lululemon’s stretched valuation is more about fashion than yogi proliferation.

Disney chief’s unlikely fairy godfather: Murdoch

November 21, 2012

With News Corp snapping up a piece of the Yankees TV network, Bob Iger’s battle with Rupert Murdoch is becoming more intense. But News Corp’s rich price for the deal implies a punchy valuation for Disney’s much-coveted ESPN. That could make the whole Magic Kingdom worth more.

SeaWorld IPO may not make second investment splash

January 3, 2013

Blackstone is ready to take public amusement parks it bought in 2009 from Anheuser-Busch for a headline price of $2.3 bln. Including dividends already taken, the buyout shop could end up trebling its money. But new buyers expecting similar returns should beware getting soaked.

Blackstone stock tells similar tale to Hilton’s

December 5, 2013

The buyout firm’s traded units are at last nearing their $31 debut price of 2007. The recovery coincides with a profitable float of the hotelier, a $27 bln deal Blackstone struck the same year. While the results diverge for investors, both speak to private equity’s timing nous.

A bold gamble at Harrah’s

October 28, 2009

Big debts and plunging revenues usually make a toxic cocktail, but it can still go down smoothly with financial engineering.

Travel tech IPO charts familiar round trip

January 28, 2014

Seven years after taking airline reservations operator Sabre private for $5 bln, TPG and Silver Lake are making the return journey to public markets. It’s one of many big buyouts that should land safely despite a badly timed takeoff. The tardiness will cost investors, though.