In the immortal words of David St Hubbins, it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever, and Nasdaq’s Robert Greifeld is walking that very line with his $11.3 billion bid, with ICE, for NYSE Euronext.
The WSJ has a great article today about that most fickle and capricious of creatures, the Goldman Sachs investment banker. He’ll sidle smoothly up to you, buy you a drink at the bar, even get in to bed with you — but it’s not you he wants, he’s really only in it for the money. And if your rich uncle raises his eyebrow in a suggestive enough manner, your paramour is suited up and out the door faster than you can say “secrets of the boudoir.”
NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer doesn’t speak German, despite the fact that he was a Grand Marshal in the 2008 German-American Steuben Parade of New York. So we at Reuters (with many thanks a certain very senior editor who shall remain nameless) thought we’d help him out with a few phrases which might come in handy:
The $315 million that AOL is paying for the Huffington Post is roughly 3X the valuation seen at its last capital raise two years ago, is 10X its 2010 revenues and is roughly 5X estimated forward 2011 revenues. Those are all big numbers, but not insanely so, for what is clearly a big strategic move on the part of AOL. After all, AOL has a market cap of $2.3 billion: right now it still dwarfs HuffPo. That might not be true in a few years’ time, if HuffPo continues growing at its current rate and AOL continues to lose subscribers and revenues.
September 15: Canada banks eye growth as capital shackles drop
December 17: Canada’s BMO buying U.S. M&I bank for $4.1 billion
December 21: TD Bank to buy Chrysler Financial for $6.3 billion
“The history of the Internet is, in part, a series of opportunities missed,” says Jim Surowiecki in this week’s New Yorker. Blockbuster could have bought Netflix for $50 million dollars; Excite turned down the chance to buy Google for less than $1 million.
Vinicius Vacanti has a very smart analysis of the economics of Groupon, which also helps explain why companies like OpenTable are trading at such stratospheric valuations. The real value of Groupon lies in its email list. But Groupon’s list is a list of bargain-hunters. Companies with large lists of people who have already demonstrated their ability and willingness to pay full price—companies like OpenTable—can present an even more attractive proposition to would-be advertisers.
If you want to hone your financial-media reading skills — if you want to be an active, critical reader of the financial press — then here’s an exercise for you: find an important study of some kind which has been reported in many different places. Read the study, and then read the different stories reporting on it. Then, ask yourself about the degree to which the reports accurately sum up the contents of the study. The result is what I like to call a report report report, and it’s a great way of keeping readers alert.
The UK’s FSA has conducted an investigation into the way that big M&A transactions can get leaked before they are formally announced. Its conclusion might shock you, so make sure you’re sitting down for this: