Quentin's Feed
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.

Jul 1, 2013
via Breakingviews

Nokia gets options with cheap NSN buyout

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By Quentin Webb

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

Nokia has got the better of Siemens. The Finnish mobile-phone company is buying out its German partner from their Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture for a cheap 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion). Nokia gets full ownership of this restructured and profitable telecoms-equipment business, while reducing its reliance on handsets. The purchase could also open the way to future deal-making.

Jun 24, 2013
via Breakingviews

Savings make Vodafone’s Kabel deal palatable

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By Quentin Webb

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

Cost savings make Vodafone’s punchy bid for Kabel Deutschland palatable. The London-listed mobile giant has offered a hefty 10.7 billion euros ($14.0 billion), including debt, for Germany’s largest cable operator. Sceptics think Vodafone can be ponderous and profligate in M&A. But this looks acceptable – provided Vodafone can reap the promised financial benefits.

Jun 19, 2013

Breakingviews-BT does its best to counteract government poaching

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, June 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – BT Group (BT.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is
doing its best to counteract government poaching. After leading
an impressive turnaround, Chief Executive Ian Livingston is off
to Westminster. The timing is surprising: the telecoms group is
just embarking on a big push in television. But it is hard to
make the boss turn down a prestigious government gig. And a
strong internal successor signals continuity.

Jun 19, 2013

EQT compromises to get Springer Science sold

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, June 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – EQT has had to
compromise to sell Springer Science+Business Media [SPSBM.UL].
The Swedish buyout firm is offloading the world’s second-largest
academic publisher to rival BC Partners [BCPRT.UL], for a
decent-looking 3.3 billion euros ($4.4 billion). But it has been
a slog. And the final structure implies an enduring gap on
valuation.

Jun 18, 2013

Breakingviews- Vodafone remains best bet for Kabel Deutschland

(Adds Context News)

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, June 18 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The mobile giant
has stronger finances than U.S. challenger Liberty Global. It
would reap more savings from the German cable company and irk
regulators less. But it is Liberty’s last chance to get national
coverage in a vital market. And Vodafone investors may balk at
the price.

Full view will be published shortly.

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CONTEXT NEWS

– Kabel Deutschland has received a preliminary takeover
proposal from John Malone’s Liberty Global. The news came five
days after Kabel Deutschland disclosed a similar approach from
Vodafone Group, the London-listed mobile operator.

    • 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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