Quentin's Feed
Feb 6, 2014
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Standalone Vodafone starts to look healthier

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

The standalone Vodafone is starting to look healthier. The mobile telecom operator will become dramatically smaller after it quits the United States and returns $84 billion to its shareholders. Elsewhere, its sales have been falling faster and faster. Now it looks like the worst is past and Vodafone hopes to ride a boom in mobile data. Yet for investors, the top question is what part the group will play in future M&A.

Feb 3, 2014
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Smith & Nephew jumps on a wounded rival

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

Smith & Nephew is jumping on a wounded rival. The British medical technology giant has agreed to buy ArthroCare, a U.S. specialist in sports medicine, for an enterprise value of $1.5 billion. Treating injured athletes is a faster-growing business than selling artificial hips and knees, Smith & Nephew’s traditional focus. And because of the target’s own self-inflicted injuries, the buyer is paying the slimmest of premiums.

Jan 27, 2014
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European telecoms will follow cable’s M&A lead

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By Quentin Webb

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

European telecoms will follow cable’s lead on M&A. The latest in a string of cable tie-ups sees Liberty Global, John Malone’s sector consolidator, take full control of Dutch rival Ziggo for 10 billion euros ($13.7 billion) including debt. In telecoms, deal-making has proved trickier. But here, too, activity should start to rise.

Dec 24, 2013
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Buzzword visionaries will rightsize the lexicon

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By Quentin Webb

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

Do executive thought leaders need best-in-class jargon? Can only visionary C-suiters move the needle at the investor day or the Davos interactive panel? It appears embedded in the corporate DNA, but is a laser-like focus on buzzwords mission critical? Join Breakingviews, your end-to-end provider of financial commentary solutions, on a deep dive.

Dec 13, 2013
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Who’s next for Boris Bikes? Co-op? Wonga?

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By Quentin Webb

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

 

Memo, Dec. 13 2013

Status: Confidential

To: Mayor Boris Johnson

From: Blue Sky Thinking Department

Subject: Candidates for Cycle Hire Scheme

 

Dear Boris,

As requested – a list of potential replacements for the cycle hire scheme, which seems to have no place in Antony Jenkins’ cuddly new Barclays. No matter. There are many impressive potential candidates out there.

Dec 12, 2013
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Ziggo has ways to put pressure on Liberty

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

Ziggo has opened the door to John Malone’s Liberty Global. A few weeks after rebuffing an approach, the Dutch cable group has confirmed takeover talks with its larger rival. Any deal would be both big and logical, since it and Liberty’s UPC unit dominate the local market. Now Ziggo has conceded a willingness to sell to its dominant shareholder, the task is to get full value from a weak position.

Dec 3, 2013
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Versace’s valuation is as full-on as its outfits

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By Quentin Webb

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

Versace’s valuation looks as full-on as its outfits. The Italian fashion house, which is sizing up buyout firms and sovereign wealth outfits to fund a capital increase, reckons it is worth more than 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) and could triple in value in three years. There is real potential, because Versace is so behind industry trends. But a big price tag for a skimpy minority stake next to a powerful family? That’s a hard look to pull off.

Nov 29, 2013
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Pearson makes a tidy turn in the merger market

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

Pearson has made a tidy turn in the merger market. The British publisher, now mainly focused on education, is selling Mergermarket to private equity firm BC Partners for substantially more than it paid for the financial news and data outfit in 2006.

Oct 15, 2013
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CEO makeover leaves Burberry with plenty to prove

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By Quentin Webb

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

Burberry’s executive makeover leaves the British trench-coat maker with plenty to prove. Angela Ahrendts, chief executive of the $11 billion fashion house, is leaving next year to run Apple’s retail operation. That lopped 4.5 percent off Burberry shares on Tuesday morning.

Oct 7, 2013
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Solvay pays up to tap into fracking market

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By Quentin Webb

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

Solvay is paying up to tap into fracking. The $13 billion Belgian chemicals group is staking $1.3 billion on Chemlogics, a U.S. specialist in compounds for extracting oil and gas. The price looks high. But there should be tax savings, a sales boost, and a chance to ride the shale revolution.

    • 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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