Breakingviews

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.

Fund glut will send Asia’s buyout barons off-piste

December 30, 2015

Local private equity firms are flush with unspent capital. Though that’s a global issue, it’s more acute in Asia due to a dearth of sizeable takeover targets. Firms will be tempted to overpay for assets, buy businesses from rivals, or drift into unfamiliar kinds of dealmaking.

Avon colors new activist-buyout battle lines

December 4, 2015

The makeup company is under fire from a pushy investor and may call on private equity firm Cerberus to help. Motorola and NCR similarly just sold minority stakes to Silver Lake and Blackstone. This growing white-knight role suggests the targets aren’t the only ones with troubles.

Yahoo sale would carry a warning from print

December 3, 2015

The internet company may be putting itself on the block. Private equity is interested – and perhaps in L.A. Times parent Tribune, too. Both are plagued by a long-term decline in advertising revenue. LBO shops fell victim to that disease with newspapers a decade ago.

CVC gives wake-up call to old-style asset managers

December 2, 2015

The private equity house is buying half of UK breakdown service RAC from Carlyle at a valuation of 2.2 billion euros. In some ways it’s a bog-standard secondary buyout. But it also sees private equity invading the turf of public market investment institutions.

Indian sale makes Bain Capital rare buyout hero

November 27, 2015

The U.S. firm has sold its remaining $116 mln stake in Hero MotoCorp four years after investing in the world’s largest motorbike maker. In rupee terms, Bain doubled its money in four years. As private equity pours into India, it’s a reminder that getting money out remains harder.

CalPERS gets what it pays for from private equity

November 24, 2015

The U.S. pension giant revealed that $24.2 bln of net gains from the asset class over 25 years came at the cost of $3.4 bln in so-called carried interest for fund managers. Private equity is pricey and hitherto opaque, but CalPERS’ analysis so far helps justify the fees.

Cerberus finds workaround for Northern Rock mess

November 13, 2015

The private equity firm is paying a premium for 13 bln stg of assets from the collapsed UK lender. It helps the state’s finances, but leaves Cerberus to fund a big portfolio itself. Selling a 3 bln stg chunk to TSB, and better securitisation markets, suggest a way to do so.

TPG reaches for some vintage Goldman fairy dust

October 29, 2015

The buyout shop hired the bank’s former president, Jon Winkelried, to be co-CEO. That suggests no one internal was better suited than a man who rode off mid-financial crisis for a cowboy’s life. The Goldman imprimatur may help with, say, an IPO but it doesn’t always stick.