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Jan 10, 2012
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Private equity skewered by Romney-bound arrows

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Private equity is caught in the crossfire. Rivals for the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency are leading a full-blown assault on front-runner Mitt Romney’s track record at Bain Capital. The attacks won’t stop Romney, but the collateral damage could hurt the buyout industry.

Dec 28, 2011
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More corporate carve-ups to delight M&A bankers

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

In mergers and acquisitions, 2011 will go down as the year of the spinoff. Activity is on pace to hit $230 billion – six times 2010’s total and approaching a whopping 8 percent of global deal activity, according to Citigroup. With rocky economic conditions unlikely to give chief executives much reason to go shopping, 2012 could bring still more splits.

Dec 23, 2011
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LBO debt gluttons have now gorged on equity too

By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Leveraged buyout kings renowned for their debt gluttony have now gorged on equity, too. They’re sitting on nearly $400 billion of cash committed by investors, according to Preqin, or more than $1 trillion of purchasing power. A big slug of it belongs to mega-buyout funds that are already at or approaching their use-by date.

Dec 15, 2011
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P&G didn’t crunch its Pringles partner adequately

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Procter & Gamble didn’t crunch the details on its Pringles partner adequately. Troubles escalated for Diamond Foods, the agreed buyer of the chips brand, on Thursday as the Securities and Exchange Commission initiated a probe into its accounting on the heels of the snack food company’s own internal inquiry. The scale of the issues being investigated suggests the consumer giant missed some warning signs.

Everything looked crisp back in April when the $2.4 billion transaction was announced. Diamond shares soared as it appeared to fulfill ambitions to grow from a walnut co-operative to a global player in salty treats. For P&G, a craftily-structured deal allowed it to finally exit the food business.

Dec 7, 2011
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Don’t boo U.S. football’s zero-coupon perpetuals

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The Green Bay Packers are on some kind of streak. The venerable U.S. football team has followed up last year’s Super Bowl victory with 12 consecutive wins to start this season. It is now parlaying the local exuberance into an unconventional investment achievement.

Dec 2, 2011
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Thomson finally completes takeover of Reuters

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Thomson agreed to buy Reuters in May 2007. It didn’t really merge the two companies until just a few months ago. And now, with the resignation of Chief Executive Tom Glocer, the takeover is finally complete.

Nov 30, 2011
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Buffett steals page from odd playbook: Murdoch’s

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Warren Buffett and Rupert Murdoch don’t often come up in the same context. But both these octogenarian billionaires can’t shake a soft spot for newspapers. Buffett proved as much by agreeing on Wednesday to buy his local publisher, the Omaha World-Herald Co, in defiance of his own investment advice.

Nov 29, 2011
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P&G may need to pop a plan B for Pringles

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Things aren’t sparkling for Diamond Foods. A month ago, the snack food maker delayed its $2.4 billion plan to buy Pringles from Procter & Gamble to look into accounting concerns. Now, the company is burying news about the probe and increasing payments to walnut-growing directors. These and other inconsistencies don’t seem to augur well for the investigation – or for P&G’s deal.

Nov 11, 2011
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Music gods again divert EMI’s destiny

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The music gods have meddled again with EMI’s destiny. In the minds of financiers and industry wags, the union of the British music group – home to the Beatles and the Beastie Boys – with U.S. rival Warner Music was just a matter of time. But the star-crossed match has been knocked off course again by the sale of EMI’s two divisions to Sony and Vivendi’s Universal Music.

Nov 10, 2011
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Life continues sweetly for the .001 percent

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Contemporary art may have been on sale at Sotheby’s last night. But the scene was more befitting a surrealist. Just hours before financial markets had one of their worst days in months. Embattled Italy threatened to destabilize the underpinnings of the global economy. Hundreds of protesters clamored outside the famed art house, alongside the buyers’ limousines, for greater income equality. Inside, the ultra-rich splashed out over $300 million in what connoisseurs called an epic auction.