Thursday, 26 March 2015

RARE alert: Shire said to be weighing "transformational" $65 billion merger with BioMarin Pharmaceutical

Perhaps I spoke (or wrote) to soon about Shire's next "transformational" deal taking a while to happen - see the link:

Top sources (and I mean top) tell me FTSE 100-listed Shire has set it sights on combining with BioMarin Pharmaceutical, a US-listed company that specialises in making therapies for people with extremely rare genetic diseases.

I have been told by well informed types that Shire recently approached BioMarin about a deal although it's not clear whether things have progressed further.

Bankers from Morgan Stanley and Lazard are advising Shire, which is led by chief executive Flemming Ornskov, on this potential transaction, with the former said to be leading the financing for the deal, said my sources.

An acquisition of BioMarin would be "transformational" for Shire as the company currently has a market capitalisation of about $18 billion. And Shire is likely to have pay a significant premium to BioMarin's current price given the current M&A frenzy in the pharmaceutical sector.

BioMarin is thought to have already drafted in its own financial advisers, said to be a boutique firm such as Centreview Partners (who seem to be advising on everything nowadays) or Evercore, to defend the company from a larger predator, according to my sources.

This is because Shire may not be the only suitor interested in BioMarin. Indeed, a couple of years ago Swiss giant Roche, which last year bought InterMune for $7.4 billion, took a good look at BioMarin, according to past reports.

I'm told by sources that the Swiss pharmaceutical giant may revisit its interest in California-based BioMarin on hearing Shire is interested in the business.

Shire and BioMarin both declined to comment on the "speculation".

Although this story has been tested through some formal journalistic channels, this information is RARE (well, more like medium RARE). For readers that don't recall what RARE is, here is the definition:

Market gossip that hasn't been tested through formal journalistic channels (public relations executives, bankers etc). The rumour might be total codswallop but then again there may be something in it, so it's worth airing on Betaville.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Krafty 3G - part 3

Interesting piece from Bloomberg on today's news about the 3G/Warren Buffet-backed $40 billion Heinz takeover of Kraft. Here is a link:

Village gossip - dealmakers' digest goes on the block

Revealed: Private Equity International could be about to change hands for between £35million and £50 million.

I understand the company behind Private Equity International, PEI, has hired advisers from Livingstone Partners to look at "strategic options", which could result in a sale of the publishing, conferences and training business.

Krafty 3G - part 2

I see SAB Miller's shares are only down about 0.5pc despite today's announcement about the 3G-backed $40 billion Heinz takeover of Kraft.

Perhaps the market isn't dismissing the idea of an SAB Miller deal following today's news after all. I should have more on this situation later on the week, so keep an eye on Betaville.

Krafty 3G

I imagine SAB Miller's shares will be hit hard this morning as the Wall Street Journal revealed overnight that 3G, the fund managed by a group of Brazilian billionaires, is in talks to buy Kraft for more than $40 billion.

The newspaper claimed 3G is pursuing Kraft through Heinz, which it bought a couple of years ago, and is likely to merge both companies.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The online gaming merry-go-round

The Daily Telegraph's Ashley Armstrong has just written an interesting piece on 888 Holdings, the online gaming company that recently saw takeover talks with William Hill fall apart.

The report quotes the company's executive chairman as saying that 888's main founding shareholders would be supportive of an all-share merger with another gaming company.

Here is a link to the piece:

I wonder which company 888's main shareholders would like the business to merge with?

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Aussie lawyers Slater & Gordon in exclusive talks to buy Quindell's legal services division - part 14

I hope your having a good weekend Betavillers.

I have been getting a lot of questions (and a fair amount of abuse, too) in recent days about the Slater & Gordon/Quindell story I have been covering in the last few weeks.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Market caps

I see Birmingham-based manufacturer IMI snuck its out announcement about the appointment of Lord Robert Smith of Kelvin as its new chairman on Budget day - a good day to release information when you don't want to pesky hacks to dig into your press release as newsrooms are overloaded with economic and political stories from the Chancellor. See the link:

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

RARE alert: Shire's next deal could be "transformational"

It's Budget day (here in the UK), so here is a piece of RARE that is completely unconnected to one of the busiest days in financial/political journalism.

I hear Shire's next deal is likely to be "transformational".

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


The Times business section had a cracking front page today, with Gideon Spanier landing a juicy scoop about how The Mirror Group, publisher of The Daily Mirror, is trying to buy The Daily Express and The Daily Star from Richard Desmond.

Here is a link to Trinity Mirror's confirmation to The Times piece:

Monday, 16 March 2015

Aussie lawyers Slater & Gordon in exclusive talks to buy Quindell's legal services division - part 13

In case you missed them, here are today's/yesterday's statements from Quindell and Slater & Gordon.

Back on Tip TV talking about Holcim/Lafarge, TSB, Domino Printing, BHS and Quindell

I have received a fair few questions over the weekend about my piece on Quindell in The Sunday Times. So, I thought I would try to clear a couple of things up in my Tip TV slot this morning. If your interested in my explanation, click on the link below:

Sunday, 15 March 2015

BHS individuals - part 2

It's still not clear who the "individuals" are behind the BHS deal despite the fact that several top Sunday newspaper business reporters had a good stab at trying to unveil their identities.

Ben Marlow's Rainmaker column in The Sunday Telegraph provided some more interesting detail on the backgrounds on the frontmen to the deal. Here is a link to the piece:

Friday, 13 March 2015

BHS individuals

Looking over this morning's coverage of the BHS deal it's still not clear (to me, at least) who has actually bought the retail chain from Sir Philip Green.

Aside from the frontmen, reports suggest that Retail Acquisitions (the purchaser of BHS) is "backed by a group of eight to 10 individuals in different businesses, including oil and gas".

Thursday, 12 March 2015

World domination (by ex-Telegraph journos)

Mark Kleinman over at Sky News appears to be on a bit of hot streak.

Kleinman, a former colleague/boss during my time at The Daily Telegraph / The Sunday Telegraph, has landed several big exclusives this week, including the £1 billion takeover bid for Domino Printing.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The party is still on at Bwin...

It looks like Bwin Party Digital Entertainment is still talking to potential buyers despite some news outlets claiming a few weeks ago negotiations had collapsed and the deal was off.

In this morning's full-year results statement, Bwin Party Digital Entertainment says:

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


Remember how the soaring Swiss franc skittled almost everyone in the City?

Traders and investors were left "reeling" in mid-January when Switzerland unexpectedly abandoned its currency ceiling against the Euro.