Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Another Betaville scoop confirmed!

I realise the "big" news this morning the decision by Anheuser-Busch Inbev to announce its £42.15 a share/£68 billion offer for SAB Miller to the London market.

But I would just like to point out that another one of little old Betaville's scoopettes has finally been been confirmed - only it slipped under the radar as I never received the formal press release (not sure why, perhaps LDC's PR advisers don't like me very much).

Readers might recall I revealed earlier this year that the owners of Private Equity International, the trade mag for the dealmaking industry, had hired advisers from Livingstone Partners to find a buyer.

I followed that story up, revealing Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) was in exclusive discussions to buy a minority stake in PEI, the publisher of Private Equity International.

Here are links to those stories:

And low and behold: Private Equity International reported a few days ago that LDC is taking a stake in PEI. Here is a link: 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

When "old" news becomes new news... - part 2

Readers probably don't recall that almost exactly a year ago I wrote this article:

One of the key points of last year's piece was to highlight that APR Energy, the power generator company, had hired Barclays to carry out a "strategic review" following interest from several private firms despite "people familiar with the matter" claiming Barclays wasn't "currently" working with the company etc etc etc.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Qatar sells Vinci stake; what next for the sovereign wealth fund?

This evening it emerged Qatar is selling 1.1pc of French construction company Vinci to raise around EURO 380 million - and the move is causing quite the frisson in London markets.

Why? Well, the Qataris own big stakes in Glencore and Volkswagen, so market participants are speculating the gas rich gulf country will use the cash from the Vinci sale to finance (potential?) equity fundraisings from both these beleaguered companies.

Back on Tip TV talking about Glencore, Imperial Tobacco, Radius Health, Imagination Technology and Eros International

Moose and Zak decided to get together to take me on this morning. Here is a link to today's show:

Bank rows - part 2 - Lloyds settles with John Argent?

The Lloyds versus John Argent tribunal that was due to start this morning has been scrapped, according to my court mole.

In case you don't recall, last Friday I highlighted how a slew of Libor cases - criminal, civil and employment related - were scheduled to start over the coming weeks and cause the banks a headache.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

A late Sunday review

The papers couldn't get enough of Glencore this weekend. No surprise, I guess, given the commodity group's travails last week.

One story that did pique my interest was The Sunday Telegraph's front page item about how Glencore "would listen to offers for a takeover of the entire company". I'm not quite what to infer from the piece. Still, in case you missed it, here is a link:

Friday, 2 October 2015

Bank rows

Are Britain's banks past the the worst of their fines and punishments following the financial crisis?

Well, it would appear so, according to Dutch information provider Wolters Kluwer.

Friday stuff

It struck me this morning while reading the The Times that it really is an excellent publication packed full of interesting jackanories.

I particularly enjoyed Dom Walsh's analysis piece on city grandee and SAB chairman Jan du Plessis, the curious tale about the Chinese looking to develop a replica version of Longleat in China and Kaya Burgess's amusing diary column about what Ed Miliband's spinners did next.

Thursday, 1 October 2015


What do Crispin Odey, the quintessentially English upper class hedge fund manager, and Kate Moss's hairdresser have in common?

I imagine not a lot - but it would appear they both like to grab lunch at Scott's, the uber upmarket restaurant that is owned by billionaire restauranteur Richard Caring, on a sunny late summer's day.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Constituency engagement

I was slightly surprised to see Chuka Umunna, the former Labour business bod, wondering down Oxford Street (for foreign readers this one of London's biggest shopping boulevards) as I returned from another sumptuous lunch in Mayfair yesterday.

In fact, I had to double take to make sure it was the articulate and erudite MP for Streatham given it was the Labour party conference in Brighton yesterday.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sunday review

The Sunday Times was packed full of juicy stories. I was particularly interested in Peter Evans's piece on the SAB Miller takeover situation.

In case you missed it, here is a link:

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Pizza deals

Tucked away in the back of the The Times business section yesterday was a nib (journalistic parlance for a smaller filler piece in the sidebar) that piqued my interest - apparently Soho House Group has sold a 50pc stake in the London-based Pizza East chain to a mystery unnamed investor.

Now, some readers might be scratching their heads, wondering why I care about such a small, private deal.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Coincidence? - part 6

Apologies for the delayed post Betavillers - I have been out and about all day.

Anyway, here is a little snippet on the SAB Miller situation - apparently the equity research department of investment bank Goldman Sachs, recently appointed as adviser to the FTSE 100 company, was today "restricted" on the Molson Coors Brewing Company, which has joint venture with SAB Miller in the US.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Burmese Business - part 3

Shares in MySQUAR, the Burmese social media platform, have taken a bit of battering since the company floated on London's Alternative Investment Market in late Spring this year - like most stocks exposed to emerging markets.

However, I have a piece of good news for those observers that follow the company. I understand Facebook has decided to support MySQUAR and its app MyCHAT with up to $80,000 in free services and tools.

Back on Tip TV talking about Debenhams, SAB Miller, Imagination Technologies, Standard Chartered and Lanxess - part 2

I see German chemicals company Lanxess has announced a deal to sell a stake in its German rubber division to Saudi Arabia's Aramco in a deal that values the unit at $3.1 billion.

Lucky I mentioned something was afoot with Lanxess during yesterday's session on Tip TV (although admittedly I didn't quite nail the story in all its gory detail)...

Sunday, 20 September 2015

SAB Miller said to have formally appointed Goldman Sachs as defence adviser; speculation in talks with Diageo

Here is a juicy jackanory to set your pulses racing on a Monday morning.

I hear from top sources that SAB Miller has formally appointed heavyweight investment bankers from Goldman Sachs as defence advisers alongside uber grandee dealmakers Simon Robey and Simon Warshaw, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Cazenove.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Top of the market? - part 2

I was hoping to revisit the "top of the market" theme once things calmed down this weekend but it would appear Lina Saigol, the Companies Editor at the Financial Times, has beaten me to the punch (this often happened to me when I was a cub M&A reporter at the The Daily Telegraph in the mid-noughties).

Her column today in the Financial Times echoes what I have been thinking all week: the last time Anheuser-Busch Inbev lot and their backers at 3G pulled the trigger on a mega deal it was pretty much the top of the last bull market.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Coincidence? - part 5

Apologies dear readers for banging on about this ad nauseam but I see Bloomberg revealed this evening that Anheuser-Busch Inbev "reached out" to Altria, SAB Miller's largest shareholder, before the Brazlian brewer's approach to the FTSE 100 company was announced on Wednesday.

So, it would appear the latest Bloomberg tale reinforces my argument from last night that it was crucial for little old Betaville to be the first news outlet on Tuesday afternoon to report the rumours about Altria cancelling its attendance at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference and the renewed speculation about a takeover bid for SAB Miller.