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Jan 2, 2015
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Crude slump will stoke European oil and gas M&A

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

There was $383 billion worth of oil and gas sector M&A in the 2014 year to Dec. 11. Yet Europe has largely missed out on the gusher: about three-quarters of the targets have been in North America, according to Thomson Reuters data. Shale has played a big role. In 2015, oil and gas bankers in Europe will get a bigger slice of the action.

Dec 16, 2014

Breakingviews: Repsol takes risky $13 bln bet on Talisman

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

MADRID (Reuters Breakingviews) –
The precipitous drop in the price of crude has produced the oil
and gas sector’s first big deal. Repsol of Spain is
paying a fat premium to buy Canada’s Talisman for $13
billion, including $4.7 billion of net debt. The purchase price
looks steep.

Talisman ticks many boxes. The Canadian company gives the
Spaniards a much-needed boost to production following
Argentina’s expropriation of its YPF unit, for which it received
$6.3 billion of cash. The deal will boost Repsol’s production by
76 percent, with more than half the combined group’s capital
employed upstream. Half of that will be in North America,
diluting more risky countries like Libya.

Nov 28, 2014
via Breakingviews

Market too bearish on European oil services

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Oil service companies are in a bad place. The sharp drop in oil prices to $72 a barrel has coupled with slowing capital expenditure among oil majors. Petrofac, whose shares have fallen 30 percent in a week, has fared especially badly. Seadrill is another.

Oct 30, 2014
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New Shell chairman has a tough job on his hands

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Royal Dutch Shell’s new chairman needs to learn quickly. Charles Holliday is appointed as oil prices slump towards $85 a barrel. After a dismal 2013, Shell’s newish CEO Ben van Beurden is reviving the company’s fortunes. But he will need Holliday’s backup when he joins next year.

Oct 2, 2014
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Double-digit oil forces majors into more self-help

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The big listed oil companies had enough trouble with profitability when the price of crude was above $100 a barrel. A sustained fall into double-digit territory will force majors to step up their self-help programmes.

Sep 26, 2014
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Santander has a 6 bln euro capital opportunity

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Santander looks light on capital. The euro zone’s largest bank doesn’t disclose its current Basel III “fully loaded” common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, and no wonder: it seeks 9 percent by year-end, way off the 11 percent average of European peers. Ana Botin, Santander’s new chair, can probably get away with inaction. But given her bank’s toppy valuation, she’d be better off moving now.

Sep 4, 2014
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Scottish secessionists in bind over North Sea oil

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

How much oil is left in the North Sea? The question is playing a key role in the debate over Scottish independence, since most of the bounty would probably remain in Scotland, and would make up around 15 percent of national output. But the real question isn’t just how much is left, but what politicians can do to get it out of the ground.

Aug 28, 2014
via Breakingviews

Vivendi boosts shareholder credentials in GVT sale

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo and Neil Unmack

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. 

Vincent Bolloré, Vivendi’s chairman, is doing right by his shareholders. The French media group says it has entered exclusive talks with Telefonica on the Spanish group’s 7.5 billion euro bid for its Brazilian business GVT. The French conglomerate spurned a lower bid from Telecom Italia. It might have squeezed a bit more from Telefonica, but has chosen the surest exit. That leaves rival bidder TI facing an uncertain future.

Aug 28, 2014
via Breakingviews

Telefonica may have to inch higher for GVT

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own. 

Telefonica is showing how much it wants to buy GVT. The Spanish telecoms group has given Vivendi a 24-hour deadline to accept a new 7.45 billion euro ($9.8 billion) offer for the French conglomerate’s Brazilian subsidiary. A competing bid from Telecom Italia is 450 million euros lower, has less cash and is more conditional. Still, Vivendi could yet wring more out of this auction.

Jul 16, 2014
via Breakingviews

Portugal Telecom pays the price for weak controls

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo and Christopher Swann

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The show will go on. Portugal Telecom and Brazil’s Oi are forging ahead with their planned merger after an Espirito Santo group company failed to repay a $1.1 billion loan to PT. The Portuguese telco is paying the price for its weak controls over its own cash management. Its shareholders will now hold a smaller stake in the group it planned to form with Brazil’s Oi.

    • About Fiona

      "Fiona Maharg-Bravo is breakingviews´ Madrid correspondent. Fiona joined breakingviews in 2003 in London, covering media, transport, energy and Spain. Previously she spent a few months at the Financial Times as winner of the 2002 Nico Colchester Fellowship. Before becoming a journalist, Fiona worked nearly five years in banking, first at JP Morgan in equity capital markets and leveraged finance groups and then at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She gained a BA/MA (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Chicago in Political Science and International Relations and a Diploma in Economics from Cambridge University."
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