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Jun 1, 2010

Exclusive: Financial software firm Sophis for sale

LONDON (Reuters) – Private equity firm Advent International is seeking to sell Sophis, a provider of portfolio and risk-management software to banks and hedge funds, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Advent has hired Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) to help it prepare for a sale of the business, which is likely to take place after the European summer, three of the people said.

Jun 1, 2010

UK’s takeover watchdog consults on merger rules

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s takeover watchdog, stung into action by Kraft Foods’ (KFT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) controversial takeover of Cadbury, has asked for opinions on a slew of rule changes that could raise the bar for acquisitions.

The Takeover Panel’s consultation follows debate among business leaders and politicians about whether the country’s decades-long openness to deals puts it at a long-term disadvantage.

Jun 1, 2010

Prudential banks face hit to fees, standing

LONDON/HONG KONG, June 1 (Reuters) – The likely demise of
the biggest takeover so far this year — Prudential Plc’s
(PRU.L: Quote, Profile, Research) bid for AIG’s (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Asian unit — spells a big hit to
fees and reputation for the many investment banks involved.

The attempt to take over AIA was fraught with missteps, and
AIG’s quick rejection of a reduced $30.4 billion offer from the
British insurer pushed the deal close to collapse on Tuesday.

May 28, 2010

World’s investment banks checked by debt crisis

LONDON (Reuters) – Europe’s government-debt crisis has choked off a 14-month surge in sales of new bonds and shares, while mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are at a nine-month low, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The drop-off in capital markets and M&A activity is bad news for companies seeking to raise new funds or sell unwanted units; for buyout houses and entrepreneurs eager to cash in by bringing private firms to market; and for banks, such as JPMorgan <JPM.N>, which raked in record investment-banking fees in 2009.

May 21, 2010

European healthcare buyouts show signs of life

LONDON (Reuters) – Buyout firms are preparing for a string of deals involving European hospitals, laboratory testing firms and other healthcare services providers, lured by a sector that has proved resilient during the financial crisis.

Bidders are running the slide rule over several companies already owned by rival private equity shops, following a slew of recent so-called “secondary buyouts” in this and other sectors.

May 19, 2010

CD&R latest entrant in RBS WorldPay chase -sources

LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) – Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R),
the venerable U.S. buyout house, has entered the crowded field
of suitors vying for Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s <RBS.L>
$4 billion payment-processing arm, people familiar with the
matter said.

CD&R’s emergence is unusual, because the sale of RBS’s
Global Merchant Services (GMS) business is already in a second
round of bidding. It comes just days after American Express Co
<AXP.N> and Permira [PERM.UL] were revealed as potential joint
bidders. [ID:nLDE64G0MX]

May 18, 2010

Metals rises aid Glencore’s “solid start” to year

LONDON, May 18 (Reuters) – Glencore International AG
[GLEN.UL], the trading and mining giant that is Xstrata Plc’s
<XTA.L> biggest shareholder, said it enjoyed a solid start to
the year, as it sold copper, zinc and nickel at higher prices.

The Swiss firm, one of the world’s biggest private
companies, has long prized a low profile and its employee-owned
model, but is inching towards a public listing valuing it at
more than $35 billion, or a possible merger with Xstrata.

May 13, 2010

Sanofi, Merck gear up for animal-health sell-off

LONDON (Reuters) – Sanofi-Aventis and Merck & Co

are gearing up to sell parts of the world’s largest veterinary drugs operation, offering smaller players in the $19-billion animal health industry a last clear chance to bulk up.

Merck’s $46-billion merger with Schering-Plough last year gave it the latter’s Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health business, which it is now combining with Sanofi’s Merial in a joint venture with $5.3 billion in sales.

May 11, 2010

Daiwa’s European bankers shed Close Brothers name

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) – Close Brothers Corporate Finance,
(CBCF), one of Britain’s busiest outfits advising on so-called
“mid-market” dealmaking, is cutting its ties to former parent
Close Brothers, renaming itself DC Advisory Partners.

CBCF was sold last year by Close Brothers Group Plc
<CBRO.L>, the merchant bank, to a unit now wholly owned by
Japan’s Daiwa Securities <8601.T>.

May 10, 2010

Gatwick airport owner eyes second $5 bln fund -source

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) – Gatwick airport owner Global
Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is preparing to raise a second
$5-billion fund, a person familiar with the matter said, braving
a still-tough market for infrastructure fundraising.

GIP, the owner of London’s Gatwick and City airports, has
already held informal discussions with existing and potential
investors about its plans and will kick off fundraising in
earnest in the second half of the year, the person said.

    • 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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