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Sep 10, 2013
via Breakingviews

Vodafone rightly defies hedge funds in cable tangle

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

Vodafone is right to defy the hedge funds over its $10 billion bid for Kabel Deutschland. The London-listed mobile giant says it won’t alter its agreed offer for the German cable company, even after Elliott Management and Davidson Kempner amassed possible blocking stakes of 10.9 percent and 3.4 percent. Vodafone’s resolve makes sense – a failed deal would hit everyone. But even if the offer succeeds, a fight looms over the remainder of Kabel Deutschland’s shares.

Sep 10, 2013

Breakingviews:Vodafone rightly defies hedge funds in cable tangle

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
is right to defy the hedge funds over its $10 billion bid for
Kabel Deutschland (KD8Gn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research). The London-listed mobile giant
says it won’t alter its agreed offer for the German cable
company, even after Elliott Management and Davidson Kempner
amassed possible blocking stakes of 10.9 percent and 3.4
percent. Vodafone’s resolve makes sense – a failed deal would
hit everyone. But even if the offer succeeds, a fight looms over
the remainder of Kabel Deutschland’s shares.

Sep 3, 2013
via Breakingviews

Vodafone gets it: cash is king for wary investors

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By Quentin Webb

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

Vodafone’s $130 billion U.S. exit is tailored for a cautious age. The mobile giant knows that safety-first investors, especially in Europe, still prefer cash to grand plans. And so 71 percent of the proceeds from selling Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless will go straight to shareholders. Debt falls, dividends rise, and capital expenditure should get a healthy boost. AOL-Time Warner, this is not.

Aug 16, 2013

Breakingviews-Liberty Global’s M&A upset doesn’t make sense

(The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions
expressed are their own.)

By Olaf Storbeck and Quentin Webb

LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Liberty Global’s
(LBTYA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) German M&A upset is problematic. Nearly two years
after the country’s cartel office allowed John Malone’s cable
group to buy local outfit Kabel BW for 3.2 billion euros, a
court in Duesseldorf has overturned that decision. The legal
uncertainty could drag on for several more years. It’s probably
inevitable that the wheels of justice grind slowly. But the
“nein” itself depends on flimsy thinking.

Jul 26, 2013
via Breakingviews

Vivendi compromises to get shot of Activision

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By Quentin Webb

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

Vivendi has compromised to get shot of Activision Blizzard. The media and telecoms conglomerate is selling the bulk of its 61.1 percent stake in the U.S. video games maker for $8.2 billion. This caps a hectic week for the French group, after a network-sharing deal at home, and the 4.2 billion euro sale of Maroc Telecom. Investors will be pleased that Vivendi’s reinvention is finally taking shape. But in neither disposal has Vivendi realised the premium that usually comes with ceding control.

Jul 23, 2013
via Breakingviews

KPN’s 8.1 bln euro German retreat is at full value

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By Quentin Webb

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

KPN has engineered a fully valued retreat from Germany. The Dutch telecoms group is selling its E-Plus mobile unit to Telefonica Deutschland, the local unit of the Spanish telecoms giant. KPN reckons the cash-and-shares transaction values the business at 8.1 billion euros ($10.7 billion) or 9 times 2013 EBITDA. The exact number is open to debate. But the price is rich by sector standards and gives KPN a good chunk of the hefty synergies.

Jul 19, 2013
via Breakingviews

Will the music ever stop for Vivendi’s bosses?

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

Will the music ever stop for Vivendi’s bosses? They recently rejected a bid from Japan’s SoftBank for Universal Music, says a person familiar with the matter. The French entertainment and communications conglomerate has been trying, with little success so far, to scale back in telecoms and focus on media. But why not go a step further? Rebuffing this rich, all-cash offer – $8.5 billion, the Financial Times says – leaves Chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou with more explaining to do.

Jul 19, 2013

Breakingviews-Will the music ever stop for Vivendi’s bosses?

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, July 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The French
conglomerate rejected an $8.5 bln bid for Universal Music, the
FT says. Vivendi is trying to scale back in telecoms and focus
on a ragbag of media assets. But why not aim for a full breakup?
Rebuffing this rich offer leaves the company with some
explaining to do.

Full view will be published shortly.

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CONTEXT NEWS

– Vivendi rejected an $8.5 billion offer from Japanese
telecoms group SoftBank to acquire Universal Music, the
Financial Times reported on July 18, citing people familiar with
the proposal. Vivendi rejected the all-cash offer for the
world’s biggest music group, made about 3 months ago, because it
sees music as central to its strategy.

Jul 12, 2013
via Breakingviews

Schneider has powerful chance of winning Invensys

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By Quentin Webb

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

Schneider Electric has a powerful chance of snaring Invensys. The French group has tentatively offered 3.3 billion pounds for the British engineer. The pitch has sparked hopes of a bidding war and industrial giants such as ABB, Emerson and GE will surely look. But the “for sale” has hung over Invensys for months – and this is a pretty full price.

Jul 8, 2013
via Breakingviews

Vivendi games over Activision cash sound worrying

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Vivendi games over Activision’s cash could be worrying. As of July 9, the French media and telecoms group can force a big dividend payout from its 61-percent-owned subsidiary – whether or not independent directors of the U.S. video-games company agree. An aggressive move could suggest that all is not well elsewhere in Vivendi’s empire.

Chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou set about re-inventing Vivendi last year, promising “no taboos” just as he was ousting his chief executive. So far he has little to show for this promise, except a doubling-down in music. Still, a sale of the group’s Moroccan unit, Maroc Tel, to Etisalat of Abu Dhabi could be on the cards. And the boss of SFR, the group’s French mobile operator, says it is ready to float.

    • 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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