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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Shares tumbled after Tesco admitted overstating first-half guidance. The idea of a merger, buyout or breakup of Britain’s top retailer was until recently unthinkable. It still looks unlikely. But Tesco’s shrunken market cap of $27 bln should have suitors running the numbers.
Investors added $5 bln to the German blue-chip’s market cap after it unveiled plans to float its capital-intensive MaterialScience unit. Once again, markets are rewarding sharper focus. A logical follow-up would be to quit agrochemicals, leaving a pure healthcare business.
Buying Heineken could create more value for SABMiller investors than the widely anticipated endgame of a sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev. It’s a shame the Heineken family said no. With partners Castel and Molson Coors unlikely to trade, SAB lacks good alternatives.
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