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Dec 1, 2011

Breakingviews-Loan hangover will cast pall over European buyouts

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Once again, banks in
Europe have been left standing when the music stopped. In an
echo of 2008, lenders backing private equity deals have found
themselves with a big backlog of unsold loans. That bodes ill
for future buyouts.

Nov 24, 2011

Nokia Siemens Networks make up for lost time

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Nokia Siemens
Networks is making up for lost time. After failing to find a
private equity backer to spur change, the struggling telecoms
equipment joint venture is embarking on a home-grown programme
of job cuts, cost reductions and divestments. That’s needed just
to survive in a brutal industry. But NSN is unlikely to gain
independence anytime soon.

Nov 24, 2011

Breakingviews-Nokia Siemens Networks make up for lost time

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Nokia Siemens
Networks is making up for lost time. After failing to find a
private equity backer to spur change, the struggling telecoms
equipment joint venture is embarking on a home-grown programme
of job cuts, cost reductions and divestments. That’s needed just
to survive in a brutal industry. But NSN is unlikely to gain
independence anytime soon.

Nov 17, 2011
via Breakingviews

Berlusconi’s loss will be Murdoch’s gain in TV

By Quentin Webb

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

Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire faces a painful adjustment to a new Italy. A stuttering domestic economy bodes ill for the advertising that’s the lifeblood of his television company, Mediaset. And his main private competitor, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia, should benefit now that Italy’s lawmaker-in-chief isn’t a direct commercial rival.

Nov 7, 2011
via Breakingviews

De Beers buyout adds polish to Anglo American

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

Taking full control of the world’s top diamond producer will add extra polish to Anglo American. The miner’s agreement to buy the Oppenheimer family out of De Beers was rewarded with a 1 billion pound ($1.6 billion) boost to its market cap on Nov. 4. At $5.1 billion, the price tag seems reasonable. But there’s more to the share-price boost: the deal is also another step towards a more straightforward Anglo – making it a more attractive merger partner.

Nov 2, 2011

Europe’s mega-buyouts too big to exit

(Adds Context News)

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The jumbo buyout of
ISS is proving Too Big To Exit, having now exhausted the three
standard routes. The $8 billion Danish cleaning giant couldn’t
sell to new private equity firms, nor stock-market investors,
nor a listed rival. Things can’t be much easier for Europe’s
other mega-buyouts. Deleveraging while waiting for the new
issues market to reopen may be the only course.

Oct 26, 2011

ArcelorMittal chickens out to hoard its cash

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) – Buyers don’t usually turn sellers halfway through an M&A deal. Yet ArcelorMittal has chickened out of a junior role in Peabody Energy’s $5.1 billion takeover of Australia’s Macarthur Coal. There may be some financial logic to the U-turn. But it makes the world’s largest steelmaker, controlled by the über-rich Mittal family, look nervy.

Oct 24, 2011
via Breakingviews

Apax misses with HIT disposal

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

Mattel’s $680 million purchase of HIT Entertainment, the company behind kids’ characters Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine, brings a sorry tale of private equity ownership to a close. But uniting Bob with Barbie does not necessarily mean they’ll live happily ever after.

Sep 21, 2011
via Breakingviews

Foster’s gets full measure from SABMiller

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

Like two quarrelsome drunks who are suddenly best of friends, SABMiller and Foster’s Group have quickly patched things up after earlier hostilities. Foster’s has done well to secure a sweetened $10-billion-plus offer from its London-listed rival, with markets queasy and no rival bidders in sight. The deal is hardly cheap. But the sums just about work for SAB, and Foster’s was one of the few easily buyable brewers of size out there.

Aug 25, 2011
via Breakingviews

Goldman chips away at fixed cost problem

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

LONDON — Trimming base pay for London bankers gives Goldman Sachs back a bit of pre-crisis flexibility. A 2009 agreement to increase some senior staff’s fixed pay was, like moves by many rivals, a somewhat slippery response to political pressure over bonuses. But the Wall Street giant was smart to ensure the rise had a limited lifespan.

    • 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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