Quentin's Feed
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.

Sep 11, 2013
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Carlos Slim can pay more for KPN

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

Carlos Slim can pay more for KPN. Unless the two sides agree a friendly deal, a poison pill will probably stop the billionaire’s America Movil from buying the 70.2 percent of the Dutch telecoms outfit that it does not already own. Yet there are strategic and financial reasons for Slim to keep the deal alive. And since his current offer looks cheap, a sweetened bid could still stack up.

Sep 11, 2013

Breakingviews- Carlos Slim can pay more for KPN

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

By Quentin Webb

LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Carlos Slim can
pay more for KPN (KPN.AS: Quote, Profile, Research). Unless the two sides agree a friendly
deal, a poison pill will probably stop the billionaire’s America
Movil (AMXL.MX: Quote, Profile, Research) from buying the 70.2 percent of the Dutch
telecoms outfit that it does not already own. Yet there are
strategic and financial reasons for Slim to keep the deal alive.
And since his current offer looks cheap, a sweetened bid could
still stack up.

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.

    • 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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