Neil Unmack is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist based in London. He covers credit markets, hedge funds, and Italy. Previously he was a corporate finance reporter at Bloomberg News in London. He started his career as a financial journalist in 2001 at Euromoney Institutional Investor, where he covered structured finance for EuroWeek magazine. He was educated at Eton College and Oxford University, graduating with a first class degree in modern languages. Follow Neil on Twitter @unmack1
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The German drugs and chemicals maker will buy U.S. life-science group Sigma-Aldrich for $17 bln. The deal defies expectations that Merck would bulk up in pharmaceuticals. It makes strategic sense, and isn’t too expensive. But the humdrum pharma unit is left in need of repair.
A new $5 bln Amsterdam-listed fund from the Pershing Square founder should dust one in London run by his Third Point nemesis. Ackman’s lower fees and ease of valuation offset questions over governance and discount controls. The hedgie peloton has a new leader to follow.
The drugmaker is paying a 297 mln stg fine for bribing non-government officials in China. That sets a floor for penalties in future probes. But the suspended sentences for five executives also send a warning that pain in such cases falls on individuals just as much as companies.
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