China’s $5 bln robot bid does not compute

May 18, 2016

The 36 pct premium Midea may offer for German robot maker Kuka is frothy. There are no cost synergies, the suitor doesn’t seek control, and governance could be messy. Yet unless Kuka can find a white knight, minority shareholders have every reason to take the Chinese cash.

Yahoo could be good home for sidebar of shame

April 11, 2016

The parent of scandal-peddler Daily Mail may bid for the U.S. media group. That could catapult the MailOnline onto ad buyers’ agendas. Since owner Viscount Rothermere has spent a decade diversifying away from news, the best deal might be one that breaks the UK group up.

IHS-Markit $13 bln merger is long on hope

March 21, 2016

A bigger, diverse data company could cross-sell to different clients, the theory goes. Markit’s shareholders could end up roughly 10 pct better off. But extra revenue of $100 mln looks aspirational. Big share buybacks and high debts could hobble investment in new products.

Li Ka-shing’s power deal is at risk of a jolt

September 29, 2015

The tycoon’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure unit wants to buy cash-rich affiliate Power Assets for $11.6 bln in stock. Investors have the motive and the means to push for better terms. But they need to believe the rewards of a sweetened offer outweigh the risks of Li walking away.

Focus Media relisting defies China’s market rout

September 1, 2015

The advertising group is trying to list again in Shenzhen after a previous attempt in June fell through. But despite the stock market slump, Focus Media’s $7.2 bln valuation is unchanged. Other U.S.-listed companies eyeing a return to the mainland may need to be more realistic.

Hudson’s Bay wangles way back to Teutonic roots

June 15, 2015

The Canadian owner of U.S. store Saks – once an English company headed by a German – has the best of a $3 bln deal to buy Cologne-based retailer Kaufhof. Offloading real estate will help it finance the trade. It also gives Hudson’s Bay a cushion against old world risks.

Ahold-Delhaize is a 25 bln euro deal full of hope

May 11, 2015

The shares of both Dutch-listed grocer and its potential Belgian-listed target were up strongly on reports of renewed merger negotiations. A combination of the two U.S.-centric companies makes sense. But financing could be an issue, and the American market will still be tough.

Pru’s lesson for investors: trust animal spirits

November 21, 2014

The UK insurer’s stock hit a record this week, leaving rival Aviva trailing in its wake. It is a painful reminder of how Aviva lost out by failing in its attempt to buy Pru in 2006. The main reason there was no deal? The bidder lacked investor support to pay a fair premium.

Glencore Rio takeover would be harder than Xstrata

October 7, 2014

Ivan Glasenberg’s miner-trader is stalking $90 billion iron giant Rio Tinto. Though there’s some logic to a deal, Glencore will be loath to pay much of a premium, and the clash of cultures would be extreme. Rio is also in a better position to resist than rival Xstrata in 2012.

Facebook is near-universal buyer in virtual world

June 6, 2014

The $160 bln website’s users are worth nearly $130 each. WhatsApp, at $19 bln or $42 per user, was a relative steal. Users of Twitter and Japan’s Line look cheap, too. Clamp on an Oculus Rift and there’s a case for Mark Zuckerberg to buy most of the planet’s social and chat apps.