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Jan 24, 2012
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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
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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
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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.

Jan 12, 2012
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Ferretti’s yachts find fitting berth in China

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

Few companies embody the highs and lows of turbo-charged modern finance better than Ferretti. Once the luxury yachtmaker made a mint for private equity. Now a state-backed Chinese industrial conglomerate is buying it for at most a fifth of its peak value.

Dec 12, 2011
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JPMorgan faces tangle in cable M&A

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

JPMorgan may soon rank among Germany’s top cable-TV broadcasters. The U.S. investment bank committed to be a back-up buyer if regulators stop Liberty Global acquiring number three cable firm, Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg. But if JPMorgan finds itself on the hook, that won’t automatically be the death knell for these unusual agreements.

Dec 2, 2011
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Loan hangover will cast pall over European buyouts

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

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.

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.

    • 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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