Breakingviews

Zurich can justify a swoop on RSA

August 6, 2015

The Swiss insurer released disappointing results but thinks its UK peer remains a good fit. Zurich’s hurdle rate for investment is around 10 percent. Offering 600p a share for RSA, a 36 pct premium, should allow that without synergy assumptions being too ambitious.

Drinks can merger may yet get flattened

February 19, 2015

U.S. drinks can maker Ball agreed to pay 4.3 bln stg in cash for British rival Rexam. Ball also pledged to pay a chunky 302 mln stg fee if it is blocked. Rexam’s share price suggests the merger may still fall foul of trustbusters.

SoftBank and Shrek may lack on-screen chemistry

September 29, 2014

The Japanese conglomerate may offer $3.4 bln for movie studio DreamWorks Animation. Softbank’s giant balance sheet can easily absorb the hit-and-miss earnings of film production. But with each big acquisition, it becomes less clear how the group’s parts fit together.

General Mills may smother pricey organic target

September 9, 2014

The $33 bln maker of Cheerios is paying $820 mln, a 37 pct premium, for “natural” mac-n-cheese purveyor Annie’s. But big companies often squash growth when they swallow small targets whole. Coca-Cola’s recent stakes in Monster and Green Mountain may offer a better template.

Henry Kravis cultivates private equity perennials

May 30, 2014

U.S. firms like his are selling companies to each other at a record pace. Such deals are dubious, especially given how much capital is stockpiled. But KKR’s $1.6 bln buyout of landscaper Brickman and quick merger with rival ValleyCrest suggest the grass can indeed be greener.

Upstart M&A boutiques earn place at fee table

August 18, 2011

It wasn't always clear there would be enough work to go around. In the aftermath of the crisis, flocks of bankers either went solo or joined veterans like Bob Greenhill and Roger Altman, who had done so years before.

Forget the IPO, Facebook could reverse into Yahoo

September 12, 2011

Now that Yahoo has fired its chief executive, anything could happen to the rudderless Internet hodgepodge.

De Beers buyout adds polish to Anglo American

November 7, 2011

The miner is paying the Oppenheimer family a reasonable $5.1 bln to take majority control of De Beers, the world’s top diamond producer. It’s another step to a streamlined Anglo, making it look like a more straightforward takeover target.

Exclusive: Ditching CEO won’t save US utility deal

November 18, 2011

Northeast Utilities parted ways with the head of its biggest division, CL&P, after the utility’s bungled storm response. Investors think that makes the pending $4.7 bln takeover of NSTAR more likely. Not so fast: Connecticut plans to reopen the merger review by hook or by crook.

Buffett steals page from odd playbook: Murdoch’s

November 30, 2011

The Berkshire Hathaway boss is buying his local newspaper publisher, defying his own investment advice. The Sage of Omaha can’t need more influence in his own backyard. But like other fogeys including Rupert Murdoch, he can’t shake a soft spot for print and its enduring clout.