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Nov 24, 2014
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BT is in strong position for mobile M&A

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By Quentin Webb

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

BT is in a strong position for mobile M&A. It has shaken up UK communications by moving into television and by preparing to launch a novel mobile service of its own. Now the fixed-line giant finds itself with a choice of two wireless networks to buy, Telefonica’s O2 unit or Orange and Deutsche Telekom’s EE. There are few likely counter-bidders for either potential target.

Nov 6, 2014
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Cable M&A wave washes over the Caribbean

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By Quentin Webb

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

The cable M&A wave has hit the Caribbean. London-listed Cable & Wireless Communications will buy private cable group Columbus International for $3 billion including debt. With this deal, CWC aims to become the region’s top “quad-play” operator, selling mobile, landline, television and broadband together. The deal is pricey, unexpected, oddly structured and brave. But as in several European deals, the potential to cut costs and grow faster might offset these concerns.

Nov 5, 2014
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Carlyle buys a shovel-maker for deal gold rush

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By Quentin Webb

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

In a gold rush, it pays to sell the shovels. Carlyle, the U.S.-based private equity firm, is teaming up with British publisher Euromoney to test the adage for the modern era. With stock sales, debt issuance and M&A booming, they’re acquiring Dealogic, a seller of financial data, for $700 million.

Nov 3, 2014
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Publicis overpays with $3.7 bln digital takeover

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By Quentin Webb

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

Publicis is overpaying for a digital reboot. Performance is faltering at the French advertising giant after a failed transatlantic merger. The $3.7 billion purchase of U.S. group Sapient looks like a pricey distraction.

Oct 20, 2014
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Nutreco’s $3 bln buyout shows value of food chain

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By Quentin Webb

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

A $3.4 billion buyout of Nutreco highlights the value in the food chain. A wealthy Dutch family is planning to gobble up the Amsterdam-listed animal and fish-feed specialist. With no financial overlap, this looks like a long-term bet on the world’s growing hunger for protein.

Oct 9, 2014
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European IPO wobble is about more than volatility

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By Quentin Webb

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

Europe’s IPO wobble is about more than volatility. With initial public offerings in France and Italy being pulled, companies and advisers are, as ever, blaming choppy markets. There’s some truth in this old bromide. But the misfiring of two big internet debuts also matters. Europe’s economy is faltering. And a busy year for new deals has made investors both less flush and more discriminating.

Oct 7, 2014
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Rio Tinto can dig in against Glencore

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By Quentin Webb

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

Rio Tinto can dig in against Glencore. On Oct. 7 the miner admitted rebuffing an approach in July from the commodity trading giant. Fair enough. The timing seems expedient following a slump in Rio’s dominant product, iron ore. A $160 billion “merger” also smacks of a takeover on the cheap. Rio can justifiably demand a real premium or no deal.

Sep 23, 2014
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Giant fertiliser combo looks tough to cultivate

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By Quentin Webb

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

A possible $27 billion tie-up between two fertiliser giants could prove hard to cultivate. Norway’s Yara International and Chicago-based CF Industries are talking about merging to create by far the world’s biggest ammonia producer. The two companies boast similar valuations and, together, could harvest significant cost savings. But they say they’re contemplating a merger of equals, and that’s not a deal variety that flourishes easily.

Sep 18, 2014
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Bayer’s plastic float sows seeds for one more sale

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By Quentin Webb

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

Bayer’s plastic float could sow the seeds for another sale. Investors added more than $5 billion to the German blue-chip’s $114 billion market capitalisation on Sept. 18, after it unveiled plans to float MaterialScience, its capital-intensive plastics and polymers business. Once again, investors are rewarding a company for adopting a sharper focus. A logical follow-up for Bayer Chief Executive Marijn Dekkers would be to quit agrochemicals and create a pure healthcare business.

Sep 12, 2014
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Club Med auction returns to work refreshed

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By Quentin Webb

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

Club Mediterranee shareholders have been vindicated for refusing to throw in the towel. Last year, litigious investors held up a low-ball management buyout offer for the faded French holiday group. They were eventually rewarded with a counterbid from Italian financier Andrea Bonomi. Now the MBO team, again working with China’s Fosun, are back, trumping Bonomi with a $1.1 billion proposal.

    • 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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