Quentin's Feed
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.

Sep 25, 2013

Brekaingviews- Nokia boss gets golden parachute without ejecting

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Stephen Elop’s $25
million golden parachute is hard to defend. Nokia’s (NOK1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research)
outgoing boss stands to earn this in the $7.2 billion sale of
the group’s handset business to Microsoft (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research), his old
employer. That has unnerved egalitarian Finland, which is
already sore about the decline of a national champion. Sloppy
communication hasn’t helped. But what’s most awkward is that
Elop has it both ways: he collects a payoff usually meant to
compensate bosses for being fired or sidelined, while also
taking a major role at Microsoft.

Sep 20, 2013
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Foxtons makes fittingly brash London market debut

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By Quentin Webb

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

Foxtons has made a fittingly brash market debut. The famously pushy London estate agent floated at the top of its price range, for a 649 million pound ($1.04 billion) valuation. A 21 percent bounce in the stock quickly added almost 140 million pounds more in value. Never mind the eye-watering prices for London houses: big investors clearly think the capital’s property market is unstoppable.

    • 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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