Quentin's Feed
Apr 4, 2012

Newest burger kings get Whopper of a finder’s fee

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Burger King’s
newest backers are getting a Whopper of a finder’s fee. The
biggest rival of McDonald’s (MCD.N: Quote, Profile, Research) in the hamburger wars will
return to the U.S. equity markets via a $1.4 billion tie-up with
Justice Holdings (JUSH.L: Quote, Profile, Research), a London variant on the “special
purpose acquisition company” (SPAC). Justice’s founders get
roughly $165 million for cooking up the deal.

Apr 2, 2012
via Breakingviews

Int’l Power non-execs have some leverage over GDF

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By Quentin Webb

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

The stock market has already done half the job for International Power’s independent directors. Two months of rumours of a full buyout from 70-percent owner GDF Suez have added something of a premium to the power generator’s shares. But now there’s official confirmation of a likely 6-billion-pound bid, IPR non-executives still have some power to push for a little more.

Feb 20, 2012
via Breakingviews

UPS love letter validates TNT’s earlier break-up

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By Quentin Webb

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

UPS’s 4.9 billion euro ($6.4 billion) love letter validates TNT Express’s recent divorce. The U.S. parcel service has admired its smaller Dutch peer for years, and proposed just before Valentine’s Day. TNT is thinking about it. But clearly its 2011 split from PostNL, the dowdy domestic mail business, is finally achieving the desired effect.

Feb 15, 2012
via Breakingviews

Why the league-table bonanza at Glencore-Xstrata?

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By Quentin Webb

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

How many banks does it take to put together a friendly, all-share merger – and one that’s been on the cards for years anyway? If the companies are Glencore and Xstrata, the punchline is seven – plus a lone banker acting as go-between. And despite the abundance of expensive wisdom informing the negotiations, this mega mining deal clearly needs wider shareholder support.

Feb 13, 2012
via Breakingviews

Glencore-Xstrata gatecrashers in short supply

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By Quentin Webb

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

There’s never been a better time to bid for Xstrata. Glencore’s 34 percent stake has always been a stumbling block but now some Xstrata shareholders oppose an all-share merger proposal from the commodity trader. That backlash could build, and both boards would have to consider any credible counter-bids. An auction may not be probable – but it isn’t impossible.

Feb 9, 2012
via Breakingviews

Romney tax row may bite European private equity

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By Quentin Webb

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

Mitt Romney’s low-tax private equity payouts caused a storm stateside. European buyout bosses are unlikely to run for high office. But, like the former Bain Capital boss fighting to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, they also cash in on “carried interest” schemes which usually avoid income tax. The system is due a re-think on both sides of the Atlantic.

Feb 7, 2012
via Breakingviews

Xstrata holders right to fret over Mick’s rewards

By Quentin Webb

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

Xstrata shareholders are right to fret over Mick Davis’s potential rewards from selling the company to Glencore. The chief executive drives a hard bargain, is a shareholder too, and won’t be the one recommending any merger to outsiders. But there is a potential conflict of interest in that Davis could receive two extra benefits merely for clinching a deal.

Jan 24, 2012
via Breakingviews

Endemol tussle shows trials of evicting LBO owners

By Quentin Webb

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

Contestants live under constant threat of eviction on “Big Brother”, Endemol’s flagship television show. Creditors have found turfing out the company’s owners much harder.

After years of wrangling, hedge funds which bought the TV producer’s loans on the cheap are set to take sizeable stakes through a debt restructuring. That makes Endemol a textbook example of what the distressed-debt specialists which are pouring capital and manpower into Europe call a “loan-to-own” deal. But it’s also a case study in how difficult these victories can be.

Jan 23, 2012
via Breakingviews

UK fee disclosure shows bankers rule the M&A roost

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By Quentin Webb

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

When it comes to carving up M&A fees, bankers rule. That’s the revelation from new UK rules that force buyers of listed companies to disclose how much they pay their armies of advisers. It’s too early to judge whether the new regime, probably the world’s most transparent, will force down takeover fees. But the initial data provides hard evidence of just how much banks benefit.

Jan 16, 2012
via Breakingviews

Tesco exec’s share sale pours salt into open wound

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By Quentin Webb

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

Tesco badly needs to regain investor trust after Thursday’s trading update wiped 5 billion pounds from its market value. Allowing a senior executive to offload shares days earlier may not have broken any rules. But this tin-eared move hardly helps the grocer’s cause.

    • 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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