Jeffrey's Feed
Sep 16, 2014
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Henry Kravis spins a different kind of club deal

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Henry Kravis is spinning a different sort of club deal. The old kind, in which several private equity shops would make an acquisition together, led the buyout baron’s KKR to join the recent hefty settlement of a lawsuit that alleged collusion with other firms. In the new iteration, KKR buys Pioneer’s DJ audio equipment business for $550 million. Kravis is laying down a smooth groove in a funky M&A market.

Sep 5, 2014
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Anarchical Vice Media makes orthodoxy a virtue

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Vice Media likes to seem anarchic, but it is making a virtue of some industry orthodoxies. The Brooklyn-based bad boy of news and entertainment is now valued at $2.5 billion. The sources of Vice’s money and the way it was raised, though, suggest old-school traits alongside the iconoclasm.

A gonzo style of journalism has enabled Vice to get younger people interested in global current events. The draws include stunts such as dispatching retired basketball misfit Dennis Rodman to North Korea as well as documentary-format reports on Ukraine and Syria. Vice’s fashion site includes headlines like “This stab-proof clothing aims to keep Medellin safe,” while its foodie endeavor explains how “Gaza’s Christians are brewing illegal wine in defiance of Hamas.”

Aug 20, 2014
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Ballmer’s exit value is now Nadella’s to preserve

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Steve Ballmer’s exit value is now Satya Nadella’s to preserve. Microsoft’s market capitalization swelled by over $100 billion from the day about a year ago when the 34-year veteran of the software giant said he would resign as chief executive until Tuesday, when he stepped down from the board of directors. With Ballmer fading from the picture, maintaining the momentum is now firmly up to new boss Nadella.

Aug 8, 2014
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Behold the unversion: an inversion in all but name

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Behold the unversion. U.S.-based data protection firm SafeNet may very well be able to slash its tax rate as part of a cross-border deal. Instead of doing so by acquiring an overseas company – a move known as an inversion – it is selling itself for $890 million to Dutch digital security outfit Gemalto. The deal shows the limitations of a possible U.S. government ban on inversions.

Aug 7, 2014
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Private equity discord is best collusion defense

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Even when it might help them, private equity firms can’t seem to cooperate. Blackstone Group, KKR and TPG are now willing to pay a combined $325 million to resolve allegations that they colluded to limit prices on deals. Three other firms previously settled for less. Carlyle Group is still holding out. Legally speaking, there’s safety in numbers. Yet the buyout shops can’t even agree on how to resolve the case.

Aug 6, 2014
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Murdoch miscalculation points to Time Warner value

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Rupert Murdoch miscalculated. The sly old fox of global media abruptly yanked his $80 billion offer to buy rival Time Warner on Tuesday after failing to anticipate his quarry’s resolve and the price demands of investors. Twenty-First Century Fox shares rallied after the market had officially closed while Time Warner’s retreated toward their pre-bid level. That means refusenik boss Jeff Bewkes has something more to prove.

Aug 5, 2014
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Gannett split puts digital on wrong side of divide

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Gannett is redefining the digital divide. The media conglomerate unveiled plans on Tuesday to spin off newspapers, including USA Today, to showcase the value of its broadcasting operations. At the same time, the company will take control of the parent of Cars.com, paying $1.8 billion for the 73 percent it doesn’t already own. Instead of using that online asset to buffer the weaker half, however, Gannett is forcing print to stand on its own.

Jul 18, 2014
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Time Warner can justifiably hold out for more

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Time Warner can justifiably hold out for more. Though the $80 billion takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox includes a 20 percent premium, his quarry may well have been on track to achieve that on its own with a bit more time. The Looney Toons-to-HBO group’s Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes has a reasonable degree of negotiating power.

Jul 7, 2014
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Doubling down on First Data may be KKR’s best bet

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb and Richard Beales

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

Doubling down on First Data may have been KKR’s best bet. The extra cash just injected into the payment processor means the $29 billion acquisition has now absorbed over $10 billion of equity, one of the highest sums ever for a leveraged buyout. A Breakingviews analysis, however, suggests that a return finally beckons.

Jun 16, 2014
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Morgan Stanley email shame begs a tech solution

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Morgan Stanley’s email shame should bring Silicon Valley and Wall Street closer together. Messages sent by the bank’s head of M&A to Allergan look bad now that Morgan Stanley is working for hostile suitor Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. The episode suggests there’s a market for a corporate Snapchat.