When boss Rob Marcus lunged for Comcast’s $45 bln bid, he gave in to the buyer’s demand that it pay no fee if the deal got torpedoed. Now Marcus is empty-handed in a rapidly changing industry. Rival suitor Charter may return, but Time Warner Cable’s negotiating power is weaker.
Corporate finance has more in common with lager and ale than meets the eye. The bulge bracket in both industries had been losing market share to smaller craft practitioners. The Guinness makers of mergers – Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley – are staging a slow pour of a comeback.
People vote with their wallets. The governing Conservative coalition may earn credit for presiding over five years of low interest rates and a strongish pound. But a Breakingviews calculator suggests a weaker record on growth, house prices and stocks could swing votes to Labour.
The pharma group managed to beat expectations in Q1 despite wrestling with patent expiries. One-off disposals of $309 million helped boost operating profit to $1.8 billion. Raising funds makes sense at a time when Astra is challenged, but investors shouldn’t rely on them.
Breakneck expansion at the web retailer’s cloud computing unit recalls Amazon’s glory years. Companies are seeing the benefits of letting someone else handle servers, storage and software. This time, the Jeff Bezos playbook contains a welcome wrinkle: growth and maybe profit.
The Pentagon is setting up shop in tech-land’s backyard, essentially taking their long-standing relationship public. With cybersecurity a rising concern, generals and geeks locking arms will do each some good, even if it further stokes consumer suspicions about Big Brother.
The German bank is paying a record $2.5 bln to settle rate-rigging charges. To make things worse Deutsche Bank misled the UK regulator and others. That’s not smart in a highly regulated industry. With a potential currency market fine, the reputational damage could grow.
The tech giant’s executive chairman is taking 20 pct of the hedge fund firm off bankrupt Lehman Brothers’ hands. The billionaire was brought into Google to supervise its young founders. Not for him the frivolity of, say, a sports team investment like Steve Ballmer’s.
The UK-based emerging markets bank says it is looking at where it should best be headquartered. The regulatory, economic and reputational costs of being in London have clearly risen. But HSBC’s realistic alternatives – Hong Kong and Shanghai – both carry major risks.
Spain’s biggest bank is merging its asset management arm with that of UniCredit, with private equity help. Both lenders gain from meshing cash-generative, capital-light businesses. But Santander does so without adding scale in the United States - where it still faces big regulatory hurdles.
A collapse of the $45 bln Time Warner Cable deal would leave controlling shareholder Brian Roberts with a second ugly scar. Overconfidence also contributed to a failed tilt at Disney a decade ago. Comcast rebounded with NBCU, which suggests Roberts will be back before too long.
The U.S. says Navinder Sarao put out fake orders. But if human and electronic trend-followers didn’t dominate trading, such “spoofing” would be harmless. And if the tail of leveraged derivatives didn’t wag the cash market dog, Sarao would not be fighting extradition from the UK.
Cevian takes a longer-term, lower-key approach than U.S. rivals. But it’s found a particularly knotty problem at Bilfinger. The industrial group has seen five profit warnings and a 45 pct stock decline over the last year. A good exit is conceivable, but not straightforward.