Reynolds will struggle to smoke out better deal

October 21, 2016

BAT's $47 bln offer for 58 pct of the tobacco group is at 16 times EBITDA - more than Reynolds paid for Lorillard last year. BAT's big stake will deter rivals. Recent lackluster earnings and a new CEO may also filter Reynolds' ability to push a decent price noticeably higher.

BAT heaps $47 bln of peer pressure on Reynolds

October 21, 2016

The UK tobacco giant has offered a near 20-pct premium for the 58 pct of the U.S.-based Camel-maker it doesn't own. It's opportunistic - Reynolds just named a new boss, and has disappointed investors. Still, the logic of uniting the two is as hard to resist as a Newport menthol.

Aussie gambling deal faces better odds as takeover

October 19, 2016

Betting group Tabcorp is buying larger rival Tatts for almost $5 bln in stock and cash. The set-up makes more sense than last year's aborted merger, and the combined group would be better placed to take on foreign bookies. The real gamble is with antitrust regulators.

A hands-off CBS-Viacom tie-up might have a chance

October 13, 2016

The Redstones want to crunch their two media companies back into a $40 bln combo with CBS boss Les Moonves at the helm. His ability to turn around the ailing Viacom piece may hinge on whether he can successfully negotiate a meddle-free policy from the controlling shareholders.

Asia’s buyout barons hail “control” era too soon

October 10, 2016

Minority stake purchases still outweigh full-blown takeovers by private equity firms in Asia. A shift would help an industry flush with funds. But while recent data is encouraging, founders who want to sell and professionals who can run acquired firms are both in short supply.

HNA’s $10 bln leasing bet could fly

October 7, 2016

The acquisitive Chinese group will pay just over one times book value for CIT's aircraft leasing unit. That is decent compared to recent deals. Competition in leasing is fierce, and returns can be low, but HNA's increasingly global reach means it is well-placed to grow.

Sompo buys $6 bln policy against declining Japan

October 5, 2016

The Tokyo firm is acquiring U.S.-listed peer Endurance. Japanese insurers' hunger to diversify from a tough home market has sparked a string of big deals, sometimes at crazy prices. A $6.3 bln price tag here looks fairly sane given Endurance's assets and growth prospects.

Evergrande finally hits on some sensible M&A

October 4, 2016

The debt-laden developer plans to swap assets for control of a mainland rival. By acquiring the $1.6 bln Shenzhen Real Estate, Evergrande may win higher valuations onshore. Assuming the overhaul gets past regulators and investors, this makes more sense than other recent deals.

CBS-Viacom tie-up may please only the Redstones

September 29, 2016

The controlling family wants to reunite the two media firms. Les Moonves at the stronger CBS would do non-Redstone shareholders a disservice if he paid a full premium, but Viacom's owners might want one. Any middle ground is narrow at best – and a governance minefield.

Gas deal pushes limits of U.S. energy M&A thaw

September 27, 2016

Rice Energy's $2.7 bln swoop on Vantage, which was planning an IPO, follows transactions in oilier shale regions. Paying partly in shares will limit debt, but unlike in EOG Resources' recent deal, Rice's shares fell. Maybe gas isn't yet inspiring the same animal spirits as oil.