Alibaba courier aims high with New York IPO

October 18, 2016

Chinese logistics group ZTO Express wants to raise up to $1.3 bln through a New York flotation. Sales are soaring, thanks to the e-commerce boom. But rival couriers are also scaling up. ZTO lacks the market dominance or margins to justify an Alibaba-style premium valuation.

A hands-off CBS-Viacom tie-up might have a chance

October 13, 2016

The Redstones want to crunch their two media companies back into a $40 bln combo with CBS boss Les Moonves at the helm. His ability to turn around the ailing Viacom piece may hinge on whether he can successfully negotiate a meddle-free policy from the controlling shareholders.

Red Lobster is good catch for Thai Union

October 11, 2016

Paying $575 mln for a stake in Red Lobster, the U.S. seafood restaurant chain, is a big strategic leap for the owner of Chicken of the Sea tinned tuna. But a low valuation, plus a juicy coupon on convertible preferred shares, befits Thai Union's track record as a smart acquirer.

Cox: Old Wells Fargo rot could stop at John Stumpf

By Rob Cox
October 5, 2016

The U.S. mega-bank's aggressive cross-selling culture traces back to its Norwest era, as does the stubbornness projected to Congress by its CEO. Given his age and poor response, Stumpf's era is endangered. Wells Fargo's board may have to alter and accelerate a succession plan.

Fidelity insiders chip away at customers’ yachts

October 5, 2016

That's the impression given when an exclusive VC fund affiliated with the $2.1 trln mutual-fund giant gets earlier, lucrative bites at investments in startups, benefiting the Johnson family which controls Fidelity. They need to ensure both the reality and perception of fairness.

Nutanix debut jams open IPO window – temporarily

October 3, 2016

The data-storage firm's 131 pct pop on Friday, for a market cap over $5 bln, made it the best tech float this year. The recent warm welcome for IPOs plus decreased VC funding may lead others to pull the trigger. With the U.S. election coming, the opening may be brief.

Ralph Whitworth: the gentleman activist investor

September 30, 2016

The Relational Investors co-founder, who died at 60, was an anomaly in the sharp-elbowed world of forcing change at companies. He preferred working behind the scenes instead of getting into public fights. That helped reluctant boards grow more comfortable talking to agitators.

Review: Explosions hide reality in BP spill movie

September 30, 2016

Peter Berg's blockbuster turns the complex Deepwater Horizon disaster into a simple fight between working-class U.S. heroes and a money-grubbing British company. The rig crew's actions surely saved lives. But the film obscures the challenges of oil extraction and lax regulation.

Borrowers reign despite Caesars defeat

September 28, 2016

Efforts by Apollo and TPG to salvage something from their $30 bln casino buyout largely failed after creditors fought back. Under a new deal, junior lenders will recover 66 cents on the dollar. Most debt investors bow to lame terms, however, meaning Caesars will be an exception.

Gas deal pushes limits of U.S. energy M&A thaw

September 27, 2016

Rice Energy's $2.7 bln swoop on Vantage, which was planning an IPO, follows transactions in oilier shale regions. Paying partly in shares will limit debt, but unlike in EOG Resources' recent deal, Rice's shares fell. Maybe gas isn't yet inspiring the same animal spirits as oil.