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 family-backed group has bid 19 bln euros for SFR, Vivendi’s mobile unit. That’s far more than rival Numericable is said to be offering. Yet Bouygues shares are only pricing in a sixth of the promised benefits. Competition worries and a sweetened counterbid are real risks.
Vivendi may sell its mobile unit to Numericable or Bouygues for 15 bln euros or more. The first option creates a big “quad-play” rival to Orange. The second curbs competition in France’s tough mobile market. Failure will hurt whoever loses. And more M&A could follow.
The educational publisher has followed a profit warning for 2013 with surprisingly low guidance for the current year, sending the shares tumbling again. Pearson is struggling to adapt to change in its U.S. market. CEO John Fallon has yet to demonstrate it’s just a cyclical blip.
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