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Nov 7, 2011
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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
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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.

Aug 24, 2011
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Man U’s mooted IPO valuation in league of its own

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

LONDON — Manchester United’s flotation ambitions put it in a league of its own.

Jul 22, 2011
via Breakingviews

In all, News Corp’s papers could be worth $6 bln

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

LONDON — The Sun is Britain’s biggest newspaper, outselling its two tabloid rivals combined by 50 percent. Yet it might fetch less than 500 million pounds ($800 million), were Rupert Murdoch’s embattled News Corp to sell up. Add in The Times and the Sunday Times, and a deal might be struck for 800 million pounds ($1.3 billion). His entire newspaper empire, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and nearly 150 Australian titles, may be worth between $3 and 6 billion. The industry’s terrible economics, and the UK hacking scandal, both discourage M&A. But trophy buyers could emerge.

Jun 22, 2011

Foster’s needs to brew up standalone defence

By John Foley And Quentin Webb

HONG KONG, June 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) – If SABMiller
goes hostile with its $12 bln approach, a winning counterbid for
the Australian brewer looks unlikely. Most other big rivals are
indebted or chasing racier markets. Foster’s needs a self-help
plan fast — to bag a higher offer, if not secure its
independence.

Full view will be published shortly.

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Jun 13, 2011

M&A hopes are no reason to buy Nokia shares

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, June 13 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Companies that
deny they’re bid targets are normally protesting too much. Not
Nokia (NOK1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). It’s hard to see any kind of deal happening to
give shareholders in the troubled Finnish handset maker a boost

    • 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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