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Apr 24, 2012
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Spotify’s $4 billion pitch sounds high

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By Quentin Webb

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

Spotify’s pitch to prospective shareholders looks ambitious. The online music-streaming firm boasts rapid growth and a popular friend in Facebook. But it lacks the economics of the best dot-com hits.

Apr 17, 2012
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Int’l Power does well to get better buyout from GDF

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By Quentin Webb

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

International Power’s independent directors have done a decent job in securing a better buyout from GDF Suez. It’s not that easy to extract a big premium when a bidder is already a 70 percent shareholder. But the terms of the original tie-up helped, as did GDF’s evident keenness to take full control of the emerging-markets focused power generator.

Apr 17, 2012
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Ducati could rip it up with VW

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By Quentin Webb

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

Skoda cars and MAN trucks, meet your potential Volkswagen stablemates: 186-mph superbikes. No-one walks into a showroom after a cheap family car and screeches out on a blood-red Italian motorcycle. But Audi’s ambitions to buy Ducati would make some sense for VW’s luxury marque. And even with an appropriately macho price tag, the deal could pay off if Audi turbo-charges Ducati sales in emerging markets.

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

    • 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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