Quentin's Feed
Aug 13, 2014
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A French revolution could disrupt U.S. mobile

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By Quentin Webb

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

U.S. mobile is at risk of a French revolution. On July 31, Xavier Niel’s Iliad emerged as a surprise bidder for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile US, the Deutsche Telekom-backed operator. The billionaire is little-known in America, and Deutsche rejected his $15 billion opening gambit. But Iliad is roughly to French telecoms what Ryanair has been to European air travel, or Aldi to retail. If it wins T-Mobile US, market share and margins at AT&T and Verizon could face the guillotine.

Aug 1, 2014
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French T-Mo bid looks like peak TMT Entrepreneur

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Quentin Webb

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

TMT-men are the superheroes of finance today. A market boom has let telecoms, media and technology dealmakers such as John Malone of Liberty Global and Masayoshi Son of SoftBank finance ever-bigger dreams. Xavier Niel, the billionaire behind French telecoms group Iliad, is now bidding $15 billion in cash for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile US, listed but two-thirds owned by Deutsche Telekom. Maybe this idea should have stayed in the lab.

Jul 25, 2014
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Sky Europe transforms BSkyB investment case

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By Quentin Webb

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

“British” Sky Broadcasting is no more. The group is buying sister Sky units in Germany and Italy for at least 4.9 billion pounds ($8.3 billion) in cash from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox. That transforms the investment case for the UK’s top pay-television group.

Jul 24, 2014
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Murdoch calls on European outposts for Time Warner

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By Quentin Webb

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

Rupert Murdoch is calling on European outposts to help in his pursuit of Time Warner. The media mogul’s Twenty-First Century Fox is poised to sell its Sky pay-TV arms in Italy and Germany to Fox’s UK affiliate British Sky Broadcasting. There’s strategic logic to the asset shuffle and the proceeds could help sweeten his $80 billion bid for the owner of CNN and Warner Bros. How Murdoch treats non-Murdoch owners is the linchpin.

Jul 14, 2014
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Life’s like a box of chocolates for Lindt owners

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By Quentin Webb

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

For Lindt shareholders, life is like a box of chocolates. They didn’t know they were going to get Russell Stover, the Midwest outfit whose gift box starred in Forrest Gump. They still don’t know what Lindt paid for the third-biggest U.S. candymaker. Or what it will get in terms of profitability.

Jun 20, 2014
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GE scores a Pyrrhic victory in France

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By Quentin Webb

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

There’s a paradox in General Electric’s French triumph. The U.S. conglomerate is finally getting Alstom’s energy businesses, having seen off German nemesis Siemens and reached an accommodation with a hostile French government. Yet some other players won clearer victories.

Jun 19, 2014
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Paris forces GE into over-engineered Alstom bid

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By Quentin Webb

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

Paris has forced GE into an over-engineered bid for Alstom’s power businesses. The U.S. giant’s third tilt at its French counterpart overlays a series of tie-ups on the previously simple 11.4 billion euros ($15.6 bln) cash deal. The aim is to satisfy France’s taste for alliances and protective concern for an industrial champion. It all looks less shareholder-friendly – but also less prone to an Elysee Palace veto. That keeps GE ahead of rival bidders Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Jun 9, 2014
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UK spoils Europe’s $29 bln IPO boom

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By Quentin Webb

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

Europe’s IPO boom is being let down by Britain. The regional bonanza of initial public offerings has delivered good returns for shareholders this year. London has been both the epicentre for new issues and a serious drag on performance. With investors’ time and money in short supply, no wonder IPOs are becoming a tougher sell.

Jun 5, 2014
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Reality yet to cut into ASOS valuation

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By Quentin Webb

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

Reality has yet to cut into ASOS’s valuation. A profit warning on June 5 sent shares in the British online fashion retailer down nearly a third. But the company continues to totter on an uncomfortably high earnings multiple. That deserves to come down too.

May 30, 2014

Indian bank recap is painful but necessary

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

By Peter Thal Larsen and Quentin Webb

HONG KONG, May 30 (Reuters Breakingviews) – India’s
state-owned banks need a government bailout. The country’s
wobbly public sector lenders require around $45 billion to put
their balance sheets on a firmer footing, according to a
Breakingviews calculator. That’s a bill the new government can
ill afford. But if it acts fast, it may be able to take
advantage of the post-election euphoria to persuade private
investors to put up some of the cash.

    • About Quentin

      "Quentin Webb is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist, covering mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and private equity. He is based in London. Before becoming a columnist, he was a news reporter for Reuters, where he was most recently European M&A correspondent. He has also worked as a correspondent in Brussels and as a credit-markets reporter. He joined Reuters in 2003 from Legalease, a legal publisher. He has a first-class degree in psychology from University College London."
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