Jeffrey's Feed
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.

Nov 8, 2011
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Citi risk measurement scheme warrants closer look

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

Walter Wriston, the vaunted former chairman of Citibank, famously said risk is a four-letter word. Vikram Pandit, chief executive of the larger successor organization, Citigroup, reckons it has nine letters: benchmark.

Nov 3, 2011
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P&G deal partner probe proves shorts aren’t nuts

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.Skeptical investors who went nuts over Diamond Foods may not be so crazy after all. More than a third of the snack food company’s shares were out on loan in late September in anticipation of the company’s planned December purchase of the Pringles brand from Procter & Gamble. That’s indicative of interest from short sellers, who questioned Diamond’s accounting. Now, the company is undertaking an internal investigation, putting the $2.6 billion deal on hold.

Diamond’s expansion plans excited shareholders. Its soaring stock price, which hit an all-time high of over $92 six weeks ago, reflected a heady enterprise value of more than 14 times pro forma EBITDA, including Pringles, for the 12 months to July 31. But the odd timing of certain payments made to suppliers – big enough amounts of money to potentially make the company’s results look materially different – piqued the interest of the shorts and other observers, including Breakingviews.

Oct 25, 2011
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Rupert Murdoch’s sham governance on full display

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

Rupert Murdoch still gets a kick out of the “fair and balanced” slogan used by his Fox News channel. He had a good laugh about it only last week at News Corp’s annual shareholder meeting. The results of a vote conducted at that gathering, released Monday, show that everyone’s now equally in on the joke about the company’s shameful corporate governance as they are the conservative bias of his TV news operation.

Oct 6, 2011
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Del Monte settlement quantifies cost of conflicts

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

Wall Street just got a bill for its conflicts of interest problem — and Barclays is picking up the tab. The UK bank will surrender a big slug of the fees it earned in the $5.3 billion buyout of Del Monte as part of a legal settlement with the food company’s shareholders. M&A practitioners seem to have read the writing on the wall after a Delaware judge earlier condemned the practice of advising a seller while also financing the buyer. But when banks get spanked on the bottom line, the message resonates louder and clearer.

Sep 27, 2011
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P&G’s Pringles partner warrants careful taste test

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

What could be wrong with combining chips and nuts? Maybe a few things, in the case of Procter & Gamble’s complex $2.4 billion deal to offload its Pringles chips brand to snack purveyor Diamond Foods. As part of the tax-efficient transaction, the consumer giant wants investors to swap some of their stock for shares in Diamond. This might seem like a no-brainer given Diamond’s recent sparkle. Its share price has climbed more than fourfold since it went public in 2005, compared with the modest 12 percent gain for P&G over the same span.