Quentin Webb is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist, covering mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and private equity. He is based in London. Before becoming a columnist, he was a news reporter for Reuters, where he was most recently European M&A correspondent. He has also worked as a correspondent in Brussels and as a credit-markets reporter. He joined Reuters in 2003 from Legalease, a legal publisher. He has a first-class degree in psychology from University College London. Follow Quentin on Twitter @qtwebb
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The $9 bln sale of Portugal Telecom’s old domestic unit to France’s Altice is at risk. The unlikely foe? The lawyer who runs PT’s own investor meetings. Resistance to the deal is understandable after PT’s history of bad management. But halting the disposal would be self-sabotage.
The country’s long-term shareholders could soon enjoy extra voting rights. This may tempt family firms to float and enable more privatisations. Yet Italy’s markets need more dynamism, not less. The days when a few corporate powerbrokers called the shots were meant to be over.
The Spanish telco is reportedly in talks to sell its UK arm to Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa for up to 9 bln pounds. Price, structure, timing, antitrust, and existing network deals may all present hurdles. Still, the status quo looked unsustainable after BT pounced on rival EE.
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