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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.

Apr 28, 2010

Expect more M&A by US buyers in Europe, says UBS

LONDON (Reuters) – Emerson Electric Co’s $1.1 billion tilt at Britain’s Chloride Group Plc could herald a pick-up in European mergers and acquisitions (M&A) by faster-recovering U.S. companies, UBS analysts said.

U.S. companies are growing in confidence, have cut debt, cannot repatriate cash without big tax bills, and often see Europe as a “home from home” that already makes up a large chunk of revenues, a research note published on Wednesday said.

Apr 26, 2010

IPO hopeful Nycomed inks lung-drug deal with Merck

LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) – Privately owned Swiss drugmaker
Nycomed [NYCMD.UL], which is aiming for an eventual IPO, has
signed up Merck & Co <MRK.N> to help sell its key lung drug
Daxas in Europe and Canada, boosting its commercial prospects.

Monday’s deal with one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical
manufacturers is an important validation for the once-daily
tablet.

Apr 21, 2010

Schlumberger selling satellite unit GCS -sources

LONDON, April 21 (Reuters) – Schlumberger <SLB.N> is seeking
to sell a unit providing satellite dishes and other specialised
communications equipment for oil rigs, tankers, and other
hard-to-reach locations, people familiar with the matter said.

The world’s largest oilfield services company has hired
investment bank JPMorgan to help run the sale of the unit, known
as Schlumberger Global Connectivity Services (GCS), the people
said. It could interest both trade buyers and private equity
firms.

    • 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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