Phil's Feed
Feb 3, 2014

Ablynx agrees Merck cancer deal worth up to 1.7 billion euros

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian biotech company Ablynx has signed a deal with Merck & Co worth up to 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) to develop ways of triggering the body to fight cancer by itself.

The collaboration involves a new generation of drugs designed to activate the immune system. The first in the field – Bristol-Meyer Squibb’s Yervoy – is targeting melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Jan 27, 2014

Liberty Global buys Ziggo to expand European cable empire

UTRECHT, Netherlands/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. cable group Liberty Global (LBTYA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) has won its 10-month pursuit of Ziggo (ZIGGO.AS: Quote, Profile, Research) with a deal that values the Dutch operator and its debt at 10 billion euros ($13.7 billion) and expands billionaire John Malone’s vast European cable empire.

Ziggo rejected an initial offer from Liberty last October as too low, seven months after the U.S. group controlled by Malone first bought shares in its Dutch target.

Jan 27, 2014

Liberty extends Europe reach with Ziggo takeover

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. cable group Liberty Global has agreed to buy Ziggo in a cash and share deal valuing the Dutch operator at 10 billion euros ($13.7 billion) to expand its reach across Europe.

Ziggo, which in October rejected an earlier offer from Liberty as too low, said in a joint statement on Monday that the current offer implied a price of 34.53 euros per share compared with Friday’s close of 33.25 euros.

Jan 26, 2014

Fed in focus after emerging market mauling

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve will take center stage in the week ahead with a widely expected cut to its bond-buying stimulus, responding to an improving U.S. economy but also helping fuel a dramatic emerging market sell-off.

Argentina, Turkey and Ukraine felt the full force last week of a global flight from developing world assets as investors grew concerned about slower growth in China and U.S. monetary tightening, as well as the countries’ own problems.

Jan 24, 2014

Liberty-target Ziggo sees unchanged core profit in 2014

BRUSSELS, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Dutch cable group Ziggo NV
, which is in talks on a takeover by U.S. peer Liberty
Global Plc, forecast unchanged core earnings for 2014
with investments in promotions and in its new mobile service
offsetting revenue growth.

The group said there was little it could say about its talks
with Liberty, which it revealed in December. It had previously
rejected an offer as too low.

Jan 23, 2014

Delhaize sales expansion neutralised by weak dollar

BRUSSELS, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Belgian supermarket group
Delhaize reported broadly unchanged fourth-quarter
revenue on Thursday as sales growth in both the United States
and Belgium were neutralised by a weaker dollar.

The group, which has about 3,500 stores worldwide and makes
about 60 percent of its revenue in the United States, said
revenue inched up by 0.1 percent, or 3.0 percent at identical
exchange rates, to 5.34 billion euros ($7.24 billion).

Jan 20, 2014

Brewer AB InBev grows in Asia with $5.8 billion Korea return

HONG KONG/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, the world’s biggest brewer, agreed to buy back South Korea’s Oriental Brewery Co Ltd (OB) for $5.8 billion including debt, returning to a large Asian market at a time of strong industry growth across the region.

The sale by KKR & Co and Affinity Equity Partners will be Asia’s biggest ever for private equity, excluding flotations, and rewards them with returns of more than five times their investment.

Jan 17, 2014

Mobistar sets cable rivals deadline to open networks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian mobile telephone operator Mobistar set cable operators a six-month deadline on Friday to open up their networks, allowing it to start its own television and fixed-line phone and internet services by the end of the year.

Mobistar said in a statement it had paid 600,000 euros ($816,100) to Telenet, which is active in the northern region of Flanders, and the same amount to southern Belgian cable operator Brutele-Tecteo.

Jan 16, 2014

Ahold sales hit by weak U.S. food market, hurricane effect

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Dutch grocer Ahold (AHLN.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a steeper-than-expected decline in fourth-quarter sales, as the U.S. food market contracted and customers in the Netherlands spent less per visit to its shops.

The group, which makes three-fifths of its revenue in the United States, said on Thursday sales fell by 4.2 percent, or 1.1 percent at constant exchange rates, to 7.47 billion euros ($10.2 billion).

Jan 15, 2014

Belgian clinic repairs bones with novel technique

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian medical researchers have succeeded in repairing bones using stem cells from fatty tissue, with a new technique they believe could become a benchmark for treating a range of bone disorders.

The team at the Saint Luc university clinic hospital in Brussels have treated 11 patients, eight of them children, with fractures or bone defects that their bodies could not repair, and a spin-off is seeking investors to commercialize the discovery.

    • About Phil

      "I am responsible for Reuters news out of Belgium and Luxembourg, which has led to many long nights outside parliament in Brussels awaiting news of fraught coalition talks and state bailouts of Belgian banks. I have previously worked in London, Amsterdam, where my work included consumer electronics group Philips and the Lockerbie trial, and Berlin, where I covered the Hamburg trials of suspected September 11 conspirators."
    • Follow Phil