Friday, 19 September 2014

Performing - part 2

It looks like that rather large block trade in Perform shares from earlier in the week was nothing more than an institutional seller exiting to a bunch of risk arbitrageurs (hedge funds that bet on takeover bids).

In case you forgot, here is a link to the piece I did earlier in the week:

Anyway, Millennium Partners chucked out an announcement yesterday on Business Wire that it has snapped up 1pc of the company at a price of 258p a share. Here is the link:

Several other hedge funds are also thought to have picked up stock in recent days. Still, it begs the question: why are these professional punters buying stock at the same level that Len Blavatnik pitched his offer for the company?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Whimper...or not

Well, it looks like my foray into reporting on US cloud computing deals has ended with a bit of whimper.

Rackspace said yesterday that it decided against pursing a sale of the business after receiving several approaches - I am presuming at least one those approaches came from CenturyLink and possibly even Hewlett-Packard.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


A rather large line of Perform stock - over 40 million shares - changed hands in almost one go at the close of the London market this evening. Investec is thought to have done a lot of the business (lucky them).

I'm not quite sure what the implications are of this share sale but it certainly sounds like something is cooking. For readers that don't recall, sports media company Perform has received a 260p a share/£700 million takeover approach from its largest shareholder, the US/Ukranian billionaire tycoon Len Blavatnik.

Monday, 15 September 2014

CenturyLink said to have lined up financing for Rackspace; Hewlett-Packard also rumoured to be interested

Here's an interesting snippet about a fairly chunky US technology deal. I hear from excellent sources  CenturyLink, a landline phone service provider, has tapped up some US banks for a $6 billion financing package so that it can purchase cloud-computing services company Rackspace Hosting.

Rackspace specialises in providing cloud-computing services and, according to Bloomberg, hired Morgan Stanley to carry out a strategic review of the business earlier this year after Google and Amazon cut prices on competing products. Here are links to the original Bloomberg story and a follow up piece:

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday review

Most of today's Sunday newspaper business sections are focused on financial implications and risks of Scotland breaking away from the Union.

But tucked away on page 2 of The Sunday Times is a story from John Collingridge on Porterbrook, the train leasing company that has been put up for sale by a consortium of investors led by Deutsche Bank.

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Financial Times and J Sainsbury

Bryce Elder, the stock market reporter over at the Financial Times, has this morning touched upon quite an interesting theory whistling around the London market.

Towards the end of Bryce's market report, the genial scotsman talks about how "activist funds are rumoured to be taking an interest in the supermarket after the stock's 31pc slump since mid-December".

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The auction of the auctioneer

It's a bit quiet in the world of public company M&A in the London market so I thought I would write a quick post on the auctioneer Bonhams following my piece in the Mail on Sunday last month.

For readers unfamiliar with the situation, the owners of Bonhams have reportedly hired bankers from Greenhill to carry out a strategic review (i.e. sale) of the 200-year old auctioneer.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Severn Trent bidders come together again...

But don't get too excited - it's not with a view to buying Severn Trent for £5 billion. Well, not at the moment, at least.

My sources tell me Canada's Borealis has been working with Wren House Infrastructure Management - a specialist infrastructure investment group set up by the Kuwait Investment Authority last year - to join a consortium bidding for train leasing company Porterbrook.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Back on Tip TV talking about CSR and consolidation in the pharmaceutical sector

The lads over at Tip TV invited me back on today to congratulate me on some of my InterMune stories.

In case you are interested, here is a link to today's clip:

Thursday, 4 September 2014

CSR appoints new adviser following Microchip approach

Here's an interesting snippet on the CSR takeover situation. I understand CSR has brought on board Goldman Sachs as a financial adviser alongside bankers from JP Morgan Cazenove.

For readers that don't recall, CSR admitted last week that it had received a takeover approach from Microchip Technology but had rejected the US company's offer because the offer was too low. Here is a link to CSR's announcement:

One last moment of smugness for Dixons Carhpone

Apologies for the blatant self promotion and backslapping but I thought I would take this moment to point out that index compiler FTSE yesterday confirmed that Dixons Carphone will be promoted to the FTSE 100 index as part of the next quarterly reshuffle.

Readers might recall that I broke the story back in February on little old Betaville about Carphone Warehouse being in merger talks with Dixons Retail with a view to creating a FTSE 100 retail giant worth over £3.5 billion. The tale was probably one of my best scoops since I started in financial journalism almost a decade ago.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Livening up

If you are based in the UK and into deals, there are couple of interesting jackanories floating around the inter web this afternoon.

First off, the venerable Wall Street Journal is reporting that Anglo American is open to offers. Here is a link to the Journal's piece:

3 normally makes a journalist "trend" but in this case...part 2

Andrew Clark's comment piece in The Times on Blavatnik's attempt to buy Perform for £700m is probably the most incisive piece of comment I have read on this peculiar takeover deal.

If your following the situation, Andrew's piece is worth a read. Here is a link to Andrew's article:

Monday, 1 September 2014

3 normally makes a journalistic "trend" but in this case...

In journalism hacks can claim to have discovered a new trend if they find three similar case studies. So, this piece may be a bit premature but I thought it would be worthwhile pointing out nonetheless.

Len Blavatnik's attempt to buy sports rights company Perform for £700m is the second time in the space of a month that the UK has seen an entrepreneur try to take the company in which he has substantial shareholding off the stock market.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Head scratching - part 2

Maybe I spoke (or wrote) too soon!

Microchip Technology has released a statement on the Regulatory News Service this morning although its dated from yesterday.

Here is a link to the Microchip statement:

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Head scratching

Huge hat tip to Ed Hammond and Arash Massoudi the M&A reporters over at the Financial Times for their scoop on CSR this morning. It's not easy landing these types of jackanories during August when most of the dealmaking community is away sunning themselves in the Med.

In case you missed it, here is a link to Hammond and Massoudi's piece: and the confirmation from CSR:

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

That ASOS tale

I have had a fair few calls this morning about this ASOS takeover story that was doing the rounds in the market yesterday and today.

To be honest, I didn't know anything about the rumour until it appeared in Geoff Foster's stock market report. If you didn't see Geoff's piece, here is a link to it:

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Parky back on Betaville

Here is a link to another cracking column by Gary Parkinson, the stock market reporter over at The Times

If Parky wrote a book based on his Trade Secrets column, I would definitely read it. And I'm sure many others would to.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Fancy that - Roche agrees to buy InterMune for $8.3 billion

Good evening Betavillers!

I would have posted yesterday but I was taking a day off, enjoying the Notting Hill Carnival (for international readers unfamiliar with the Notting Hill Carnival, it is one of the biggest street parties in Europe held in the area of London where I live).

Friday, 22 August 2014

Parky on Betaville

Betaville has made it into Gary Parkinson's stock market report today as being the original source of the story behind China Mobile's interest in Vodafone.

Here is a link to the column in The Times