Breakingviews

Healthcare M&A pumped after Obamacare booster shot

July 2, 2015

The U.S. top court decision upholding medical-coverage subsidies signals the official start of a race to consolidate. Centene and Health Net’s $6.3 bln deal gives the insurers an early lead. Big rivals like Cigna may catch up as the industry accepts that reform is here to stay.

ACE aims to defy history with $28 bln Chubb deal

July 1, 2015

The Swiss insurer is buying its upscale U.S. rival. Cost and tax savings don’t cover the premium, implying ACE believes in promised revenue gains, also touted in the Willis-Towers Watson merger this week. The failed 1999 marriage of Provident and Unum, though, provides a warning.

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.

Delhaize pays for sway in 25 bln euro Ahold combo

June 24, 2015

Top brass at the Belgian supermarket operator have secured strong board representation in the agreed tie-up with its larger Dutch rival. The 5 pct fall in Delhaize stock suggests they may have surrendered shareholder value in the hope of retaining management influence.

South Korean M&A quirks hold perils for investors

June 24, 2015

A $9.2 bln merger led by Samsung’s holding company has cast a spotlight on the country’s peculiar stock market rules. The dealmaking shows the limits of measures designed to protect independent investors and how the wider system is stacked in favour of the chaebols.

Mega-rejections signal M&A’s Taylor Swift moment

June 22, 2015

U.S. health insurer Cigna brushed off a $54 bln takeover bid from Anthem while pipeline operator Williams spurned Energy Transfer’s $53 bln approach. Meantime, the 25-year-old pop idol forced Apple to pay up for music. In a hot market like this, love won’t be unrequited forever.

Beware a bluff from poker-playing Dish boss

June 4, 2015

Charlie Ergen would be making a bold bet by merging his $35 bln U.S. satellite operator with similarly-sized wireless provider T-Mobile US. Given the spectrum Dish has accumulated, a deal could make sense. Ergen has proven wily, though, and plays his cards very carefully.

Jack Ma turns Reorient into free-money factory

June 1, 2015

The Alibaba founder’s fund is among investors taking control of the Hong Kong investment firm. Though their plans are vague, the shares promptly soared, handing the new owners a $5 billion-plus paper gain. It’s another example of Ma’s involvement creating value from thin air.

Avago offers textbook case for chip consolidation

May 28, 2015

The serial acquirer is buying semiconductor rival Broadcom for more than $36 bln. Cost cuts should just about cover the 30 pct premium. Avago’s track record, the cash-and-stock mix and the logic of industry mergers all add up, too. Only an interloper could spoil the party.

Fiat boss fights for car M&A with hand behind back

May 27, 2015

Sergio Marchionne argues mergers would cut duplicative spending and boost shareholder returns. GM has already rebuffed him, probably because such deals are complex and hard to complete. But he also hurts his case by downplaying the benefits of lower costs and fewer employees.