Breakingviews

Medical firms’ $18 bln merger lacks clear logic

May 3, 2016

Healthcare data miner IMS is uniting with Quintiles, a manager of drug trials. Each will own about half the combined company, and other than some cost savings, the reasons for combining are a bit nebulous. The presence of buyout firm TPG on both sides may offer some clues.

Halliburton-Baker blowup reverberates beyond oil

May 2, 2016

The $35 bln oil-services deal is the latest to buckle under regulatory pressure this year, after Pfizer’s bid for Allergan. Baker Hughes pockets a $3.5 bln break fee at Halliburton owners’ expense. Punishing the boss and board would yield a more enduring lesson in M&A hubris.

Abbott’s $25 bln buy inspires little investor hope

April 28, 2016

It’s buying medical-device maker St. Jude at a $6.5 bln premium. Cost cuts cover less than half that, and earnings accretion doesn’t make it a good deal. Abbott’s value tumbled over $5 bln. Shareholders may recall that the target’s namesake is the patron saint of lost causes.

Carly Fiorina signs up to another doomed merger

April 27, 2016

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz tapped the former Hewlett-Packard boss to be his running mate if he can somehow win the Republican nomination. The math, after a five-state sweep by front-runner Donald Trump, is about as compelling as Fiorina’s calculus for HP’s purchase of Compaq.

Comcast’s DreamWorks bid turns up heat on Disney

April 27, 2016

The media and cable firm may offer $3 bln for the maker of “Shrek” and other animated films. The small but significant addition could help CEO Brian Roberts’ company compete with the Mouse, which it tried to buy in 2004. It might also ease the pain of losing Time Warner Cable.

Marissa Mayer has only one last job to do at Yahoo

April 20, 2016

Underscoring the lack of progress in her nearly four years as CEO, the web company’s quarterly revenue fell another 11 pct. Google and Facebook are cleaning up in ads, especially mobile. It’s time to offload Yahoo’s core business before bidders like Verizon lose interest.

Market only half buys LSE merger thesis

March 16, 2016

Investors have priced in the 450 mln euros in annual savings Deutsche Boerse and its rival exchange hope to create by merging – but no more. The two aim to create value from revenue synergies too. If they can’t convince the market, the tie-up looks vulnerable to an interloper.

LSE merger of equal-ness is a red herring

March 4, 2016

Is it a merger? Are they really equals? It matters not. Deutsche Boerse’s approach for its UK rival could leave London Stock Exchange shareholders 16 pct better off. If a spoiler comes from U.S. peer ICE, value not format is what should guide LSE’s board and boss Xavier Rolet.

Cox: Let the Chinese buy Chicago’s stock exchange

By Rob Cox
February 23, 2016

Congress is up in arms about an obscure Chongqing group swallowing the old but tiny Midwest bourse. It’s an outcry that badly misses the point. The deal will force the new owners to learn a thing or two about disclosure, robust regulation and the benefits of free capital markets.

Time plus Yahoo conjures ghoulish AOL past

February 23, 2016

Merging the $1.5 bln magazine publisher with the troubled $30 bln internet company’s core would be much like a smaller version of the epically bad Time Warner deal. Combining print and digital might make more sense now than in 2000. The financial contortions it would take don’t.