Salesforce fluffs up cloud business at a high cost

June 1, 2016

The online-software company agreed to pay $2.8 bln for e-commerce specialist Demandware. That may add some zing to slowing growth while boosting a heated rivalry with old-school Oracle. But the price includes a lofty premium of nine times estimated revenue, a sign of fog ahead.

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.

From Allergan to Zoetis: new drug M&A perspectives

May 10, 2016

The acquisitive maker of Botox is devoting capital to buybacks and paying down debt. Meanwhile, Bill Ackman is selling a big stake in the animal-health company he has been pushing as a takeover target. With luck, the two moves together signal a more subdued approach to deals.

Digesting Krispy Kreme may require more sweetener

May 9, 2016

JAB has baked a 25 pct premium into its $1.4 bln offer to take the donut maker private. The billionaire-backed owner of coffee sellers Keurig and Peet’s should be able to boost sales and margins. But Krispy Kreme may prove too appetizing for others to pass up without a fight.

Chancellor: Oil prices don’t need a Doha to rise

April 22, 2016

An agreement among feuding OPEC members to cut production may still be elusive. But the Saudis and other oil-producing nations are in no position to ramp up. As U.S. oil output is set to fall sharply this year, the price of energy is likely to keep heading upwards.

Cox: Who’s the Chinese buyer we’ve never heard of?

By Rob Cox
April 14, 2016

That’s the question every investment banker now asks when selling a company or asset anywhere in the world. M&A advisers are even flying China specialists across oceans for pitches. Anbang-like hiccups won’t stop the trend. But extra due diligence and vigilance is required.

Alaska Air pays through nosecone for U.S. Virgin

April 4, 2016

The carrier is securing coveted airport slots in its $2.6 bln deal for Richard Branson’s stateside flier. Cost savings are slim, however, leaving an expected sales uplift to justify the 87 pct premium. It’s a risky bet that the airline industry’s destructive ways have changed.

Anbang’s U.S. hotel block bookings getting pricey

March 14, 2016

The Chinese insurer is in a hurry, leading a $13 bln offer for Starwood on top of a $6.5 bln deal to buy Strategic Hotels from Blackstone and its $2 bln purchase of the Waldorf Astoria in 2014. It’s hard to see how they all meet Anbang Chairman Wu Xiaohui’s own financial targets.

Chinese tycoon’s U.S. movie merger has rare logic

March 4, 2016

Wang Jianlin’s AMC cinema group will buy American rival Carmike for $1.1 bln. It looks like a rational deal at a sensible price – something lacking from the property magnate’s recent splurge on movie studios, theme parks and soccer clubs. Perhaps financial reality is kicking in.

AIG makes late push toward mediocrity

January 26, 2016

The mega-insurer unveiled plans to sell businesses, slash costs and return $25 bln to shareholders. That’d be a lot for most companies under siege from an activist like Carl Icahn. It’ll only get AIG to a subpar return on equity of 9 pct. This breakup story has further to go.