Breakingviews

Apollo wagers $4.3 bln on Amazonian capitulation

August 26, 2016

Leon Black's private-equity firm is taking Rackspace private as the cloud-computing firm has struggled to compete against Amazon, Microsoft and other tech heavyweights. If Rackspace's strategic shift to sell services on these platforms succeeds, Apollo will have a nice payday.

NextEra deal marks beginning of end of TXU saga

July 29, 2016

The power producer is buying the bankrupt giant's stake in transmission group Oncor, valued at $18.4 bln. The $45 bln LBO of TXU, now Energy Future, hit trouble soon after its 2007 completion. Most creditors will have to be satisfied with a slice of the former TXU's other assets.

Tech deal reboot exemplifies valuation disconnect

July 11, 2016

Videoconference gear maker Polycom scrapped a plan to be bought by Mitel and opted for a $2 bln LBO instead. Hefty synergies in the original merger orchestrated by Elliott oddly failed to impress investors. It's not just the newest technology where valuation thinking is screwy.

Stars may finally align against buyout-baron taxes

June 23, 2016

A group of self-proclaimed “patriotic millionaires” wants to close a loophole that allows private-equity partners to pay lower taxes on investment profit. Clinton and Trump both back the idea, too. Though efforts in Congress have failed for years, fresh momentum is building.

Ultimate Fighting punches up value of live sports

May 11, 2016

The U.S. promotion firm is reportedly seeking up to $4 bln for its mixed martial arts contests, with China’s Dalian Wanda viewed as a likely buyer. That seems high for a relative upstart in the world of pro athletics. But huge audiences for real-time events may justify the price.

Cox: The social costs of financial returns

By Rob Cox
March 24, 2016

That’s the tension at the center of “Dry Powder,” an off-Broadway play about private equity. Like most dramatizations of high finance, it engages in caricature. But the show also offers genuine insight into the emerging risks Wall Street faces from rising income inequality.

Apollo’s $7 bln ADT deal comes with extra security

February 16, 2016

It’s an alarming buyout given the state of credit markets. The LBO firm and co-investors, though, are kicking in a big slug of equity to keep debt at a relatively safe level. Merging ADT with another Apollo-owned company should add cost savings and help lock up a decent return.

Cox: Scope out the bank in U.S. retail camouflage

By Rob Cox
February 16, 2016

The business model of Cabela’s, which is up for sale, resembles a $3.2 bln chain of taxidermy museums issuing unsecured debt to assault-rifle buyers. Most of the profit at the “World’s Foremost Outfitter” comes from a loan book ballooning in ways that should give suitors pause.

Activist + private equity = no M&A for Symantec

February 5, 2016

The internet security group netted $5.3 bln from selling Veritas. Pressured by Elliott, it’s now borrowing $500 mln from Silver Lake and returning all the cash to investors rather than keeping a war chest. Symantec’s questionable dealmaking record makes the straitjacket merited.

How Symantec let bad math lead to a shaky deal

January 21, 2016

Carlyle’s buyout of the software company’s Veritas unit was never actually worth the $8 bln headline figure. Excessive leverage was dressed up to make it look workable. Even the new 8 pct price cut is misleading. Boards and investors can help themselves by getting M&A sums right.