Posts tagged: betaville

Water deals

Wednesday, 15 March 2017, 10:00 am

It's good to see the chaps at Omers and Wren House finally pull off a water deal yesterday.

In case you don't recall, I broke the story back in 2013 about how Canada's Borealis, a division of Omers, and the Kuwaiti Investment Authority (which is now operating the Wren House guise) teamed up to mount a joint £5 billion plus bid for FTSE 100-listed Severn Trent. Here is the link to that piece:..

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Award winning Theatre producer weighs "strategic options" for his £50 million airport lounges company - sources

Monday, 13 March 2017, 5:38 pm

An airport lounge company founded by an award-winning theatre producer is poised to sell a stake in the business as part of a deal that could value the group at around £50 million.

City sources said No 1 Lounges, which was founded by Phil Cameron, has hired corporate finance advisers from DC Advisory to look at “strategic options” for the group...

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Revealed: Hong Kong tycoon unhappy with Premier Oil's $2.8 debt deal; looking to form blocking group with other convertible bond investors - sources - part 3

Thursday, 9 March 2017, 10:37 am

I see Premier Oil is this morning claiming in its final results that its $2.8 billion jumbo refinancing will complete in late May. Here is the link:

http://www.investegate.co.uk/premier-oil-plc--pmo-/rns/final-results/201703090701079381Y/..

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Portuguese billionaire blasts management at Stock Spirits, again...

Wednesday, 8 March 2017, 10:07 am

The long running dust up between the management of vodka distiller Stock Spirits and Luis Amaral, the Portuguese billionaire who owns 10pc of the business, continues unabated.

London-listed Stock Spirits announced preliminary results this morning that didn't seem to worry the market too much (shares up a 1pc or so in morning trade). In case you missed it, here is a link to the company's statement:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Luis Amaral, Stock Spirits
Betaville Intelligence

RARE ALERT: Williams-Sonoma said to be stalking Restoration Hardware

Tuesday, 7 March 2017, 10:15 pm

American kitchenwear company Williams-Sonoma is said to be interesting in combining with US rival Restoration Hardware.

City sources claim that since the beginning of this year Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware have had discussions about a deal that could value the latter at $39.50.

However, the chief executive of Restoration Hardware, Gary Friedman, is thought to have rejected Williams-Sonoma's advances, according to these sources...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Williams-Sonoma

Hedge fund managers, the Bahamas and their mansions...

Tuesday, 7 March 2017, 2:54 pm

Why do so many of the world's most powerful hedge fund managers end up in nasty spats in the Bahamas?

For most people the Bahamas is an idyllic Caribbean island that they can only dream of visiting. But for some of the world's wealthiest hedgies that own houses on the Bahamas it would appear to be an island that eventually causes profound angst...

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Betaville Intelligence

Sportingbet owner GVC said to be gearing up for next major takeover deal; spokesperson denies interest in £5 billion Playtech merger - part 2

Friday, 3 March 2017, 9:49 am

I see one of my favourite ex-Telegraph colleagues, Harry Wilson of The Times, has also noted GVC appears to be preparing for its next major deal by putting debt financing in place.

In case you missed it, here is a link to Harry Wilson's excellent market report column in today's The Times:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Sportingbet, Playtech, GVC, the times

Revealed: Hong Kong tycoon unhappy with Premier Oil's $2.8 billion debt deal; looking to form blocking group with other convertible bond investors - sources - part 2

Wednesday, 1 March 2017, 5:06 pm

Oh look - Pyrrho Investments has confirmed my tale from earlier on in the day and last week. In case you missed it, I have pasted the announcement below:

Pyrrho Investments Limited ("Pyrrho"), an investment fund, notes the Refinancing update announcements made by Premier Oil ("the Company") from February 2017 to date.

Pyrrho is one of the 3 largest convertible bondholders in Premier Oil with approximately 10% of the total convertible bonds in issuance...

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House price reporting: plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...

Wednesday, 1 March 2017, 8:47 am

When I was a young reporter on The Daily Telegraph in the mid noughties working a late shift I was somewhat bamboozled by the first editions of the Daily Mail and The Daily Express.

Why?

Well, that's because the front page (of the main book) of one those newspapers led with a story about how prices are set to soar while the other claimed on the front page (of the main book, too) that houses prices were set to crash...

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Betaville Intelligence

Sportingbet owner GVC said to be gearing up for its next major takeover deal; spokesperson denies interest in £5 billion Playtech merger

Tuesday, 28 February 2017, 3:45 pm

Sportingbet owner GVC Holdings is said to be gearing up for its next major takeover deal.

According to sources familiar with the matter, investment banks - such as JP Morgan - are said to have put in place a big debt financing package for GVC to use as funds for major M&A tansaction...

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Back on Tip TV talking about the LSE, Legg Mason and Independent Oil and Gas

Monday, 27 February 2017, 1:27 pm

Apologies if I look like I have just stepped out of the shower during this session. It litreally tipped it down as I was running from the the tube station to the studio, so I got soaked. Anyway, here is a link to today's session (in which half way through I refer to last year's "election" but meant "referendum"):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0OuQSAuxO4&feature=youtu.be..

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The dealmaker, the bank and the missing skyscraper series returns, again...

Monday, 27 February 2017, 8:03 am

Remember the tales of plans to build a £1 billion residential skycraper in Canary Wharf?

Well, yesterday The Sunday Times published the latest twist to the story on the front page of its business section. Here is the link in case you missed yesterday's piece:

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/skyscraper-tycoons-held-g09ztsrzx..

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Tick Tock

Wednesday, 22 February 2017, 6:51 pm

Two days on and the upper echelons of the financial media world are still picking over the carcass of the failed Kraft Heinz / 3G / Warren Buffett / Unilever deal.

Probably the best newspaper piece out there is the "tick tock" by Arash Massoudi and James Fontanella-Kahn in today's Financial Times. Here is the link in case you haven't read it:..

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Betaville Intelligence

Centaur Media said to be in talks with about a sale of Homebuilding and Renovation division to private equity firms - sources

Tuesday, 21 February 2017, 2:31 pm

Centaur Media PLC, publisher of Marketing Week, is said to be weighing a sale of its Homebuilding and Renovation division.

According to sources close to the situation, London-listed Centaur Media has offered buy-out firms the opportunity to express an interest in purchasing Homebuilding and Renovation, which consists of a magazine and an event...

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Deal fees...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017, 9:12 am

I see the lead item in today's Daily Mail city diary is about how leading investment banks missed out on a massive fee bonanza after the Kraft Heinz's $143 billion takeover approach for Unilever collapsed...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Daily Mail

Top of the market - the series returns - part 4

Friday, 17 February 2017, 1:15 pm

Take a bow Bryce Elder, stock market reporter over at the Financial Times. The intrepid hack has just landed the M&A scoop of the year, decade or, perhaps, century with his tale this morning about Kraft Heinz's £100 billion plus takeover approach for Unilever. If you follow M&A, I'm sure you have seen the statements.

I suspect rival hacks, such as the Kleinmanator of Sky News or team Bloomborg, will have trouble topping that one. Good luck to them...

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Today on ITV - part 3

Wednesday, 15 February 2017, 11:30 am

The chaps and chapettes at FT Alphaville appear to be running behind schedule this week so I thought I should step in and fill the void.

I guess one event the market will be scrutinising will be Liberty Global's full-year results, which I'm told by people familiar with the matter will be unveiled this evening in the US...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, ITV, Liberty Global, Jon Malone

Back on Tip TV talking about William Hill, Stada, Cynosure and Zeltiq Aesthetics - part 2

Monday, 13 February 2017, 2:57 pm

No sooner had I posted the link to this morning's Tip TV session with Zak Mir than Allergan announced a $2.5 billion deal to buy Zeltiq Aesthetics!

Now, regular followers of my work will recall that, as well as today, I mentioned body sculpting company Zeltiq Aesthetics as a potential takeover target on Tip TV a few weeks ago. Here is the link:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Zeltiq Aesthetics, Cynosure

Fancy that - former FTSE 100-listed mining giant chalks up ANOTHER win against lawyers in court

Friday, 10 February 2017, 3:42 pm

Trade publications really are having a good week on the story front this week.

Indeed, today legal publication The Lawyer landed a rather intriguing tale about how a British High Court judge has thrown into question the legitimacy of a £16 million bill charged to Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation by Decherts, the law firm that counts the former deputy prime minister's wife as a partner...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, ERG, ENRC, FTSE 100

Flag pole alert - the series returns - part 6

Friday, 10 February 2017, 7:01 am

I realise this is a bit a late in the day but a loyal reader has got in touch with an interesting nugget from Japan Tobacco's results earlier this week.

Tucked away on page 6 of Japan Tobacco's investor presentation is an intriguing line about how is looking to "expand geographically notably through acquisitions". Here is a link to Japan Tobacco's investor presentation in case you haven't read it:..

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William Hill shenanigans - part 3

Wednesday, 8 February 2017, 6:47 am

There is a piece of Deutsche bank research floating out there in the market speculating about the possibility of a fresh takeover bid for William Hill, the listed bookmaker.

Now, readers might recall I broke the story about 888 and Rank coming together to instigate a three-way merger with William Hill in The Sunday Times last summer. In case you don't recall here is a link to that piece:..

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Revealed: Heineken / Patron consortium said to have swept market for Punch Taverns stock as part of market raid - sources

Friday, 3 February 2017, 4:33 pm

Patron Capital and Heneiken have been carrying out a secret raid for Punch Taverns shares, Betaville can reveal.

Good sources tell me the private equity firm and Heneiken have been buying Punch shares via stockbroker Peel Hunt during today's trading session.

So far, roughly 55 million Punch shares - or 25pc - have traded today, meaning the consortium is likely to have bought around 20pc...

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The dealmaker, the bank and the missing skyscraper series returns - Credit Suisse hires one of London's top QCs as defence barrister ahead of trial

Friday, 3 February 2017, 3:15 pm

Remember the tale little old Betaville broke a couple of years ago about how investors are chasing Thomas Ryan, a mystery Irish property developer, and (ex) Credit Suisse private banker Hans-Olav Eldring in the commercial courts in London after the pair of scallywags concocted a scheme to build a £1 billion residential tower in Canary Wharf that eventually vanished into thin air?..

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Fake denials - part 2

Tuesday, 31 January 2017, 2:59 pm

I got a bit caught up yesterday afternoon but I did want to reflect on what appears to be another example of a blatant "fake denial", which seem to be becoming increasingly prominent these days.

Last summer hacks at CNBC TV 18 landed a brilliant "exclusive" about how Aditya Birla / Idea Cellular and Vodafone were in the early stages of exploring a combination of their Indian operations. Here is the link:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, vodafone, Idea Cellular

FT airs Axa and Generali merger rumours...-part 3

Thursday, 26 January 2017, 5:44 pm

Perhaps the FT's Axa / Generali merger rumours were just a load of hot air after all?

Yesterday, Reuters reported that Axa's CEO is "not interested in Generali" although if you read the story carefully the chief executive doesn't quite say what the headline claims.

Anyway, I will let readers decide what they think by providing a link to the Reuters piece below:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Financial Times, AXA, Generali

Flag pole alert - the series returns - part 5

Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:08 am

The scribblers over at French broker Exane BNP Paribas were pushing the Japan Tobacco for Imperial Brands line hard this morning although I have still not unearthed any new facts (it's called journalism) that might substantiate their theory.

Obviously, I will let loyal readers know when I do but for the time being I have pasted Exane's note below...

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Saturday review

Saturday, 21 January 2017, 10:36 am

Clearly today's newspapers are dominated by you know who.

However, there was one story in The Daily Telegraph's business section that caught my eye: Ashley Armstrong's piece on how Ranjit Boparan, the entrepreneur known as "The Chicken King", has received a takeover approach for Party Ring, the maker of Fox's Biscuits, from a mystery suitor...

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Fake denials

Thursday, 19 January 2017, 11:35 pm

A lot has been written about "fake news" over the last month so but how about ruminating on the growing amount of duff - or perhaps we should call them "fake" - denials.

Today, for example, French aerospace company Safran announced it is buying rival Zodiac Aerospace for EURO 8.5 billion...

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Today on ITV - part 2

Wednesday, 18 January 2017, 10:01 am

So, here is that curious piece of gossip about ITV I mentioned was I looking into earler in the week. However, to be up front and clear, this gossip really is RARE!

I have been told that back in early December a boutique broker called LionTree organised a big dinner in Denver, USA for a bunch of institutional investors that wanted to meet Liberty Global's management team, including chief executive Mike Fries...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, ITV

Emerald Investment Group in talks with C&C Group over Punch counter bid, according to The Times

Tuesday, 17 January 2017, 9:42 am

Dom Walsh, one of the best leisure reporters knocking about the UK national newspaper scence, had an intriguing line in his diary column in today's The Times about how Alan McIntosh's consortium hasn't given up on Punch is in talks with C&C Group, maker of Magners, to launch a joint rival bid for the pub company...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, C&C Group, Magners, the times

Flag pole alert - the series returns - part 4

Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 1:36 pm

This announcement (see below) from Imperial Brands (formerly Imperial Tobacco) about a joint venture with China Tobacco has got a few market watchers all aflutter.

http://www.investegate.co.uk/imperial-brands-plc--imb-/rns/joint-venture/201701111300019232T/

One follower of the company described it as "massive news" likely to flush out the Japanese...

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Betaville backs British newspapers' call for repeal of Section 40 Crime and Courts Act

Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 9:48 am

Last year little old Betaville received its first threatening legal letter from a top City law firm, so I know what it's like to face a bully trying to suppress a good tale.

In fact, as a staff business journalist at The Daily Telegraph during the mid-noughties I received numerous legal warning letters and also one threat to injuct the whole newspaper (a potential disaster for a national publication)...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Section 40

Reuben Brothers approached about backing Emerald Investment Partners' rival Punch bid - sources

Monday, 9 January 2017, 6:39 pm

Britain's richest brothers, the Reuben Brothers, have held talks about backing Emerald Investment Partners' potential bid for pub operator Punch Taverns.

According to well-placed sources, Emerald has approached the billionaire Reuben Brothers about providing financial backing for its £400 million plus bid for Punch...

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Oak Furniture Land hires PricewaterhouseCoopers to review "strategic options" - sources

Friday, 6 January 2017, 3:00 pm

One of Britain's largest specialist furniture retailers could be about to sell a stake in the company as part of a deal that would value the business at around £400 million.

Betaville understands Oak Furniture Land has appointed advisers from PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out a "strategic review", which may lead to a sale of a minority or majority stake in the business...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville

FT airs Axa and Generali merger rumours...

Tuesday, 3 January 2017, 8:59 pm

Here is something to liven up a cold January evening. Tucked away at the back of an FT analysis on dealmaking in the insurance industry is a rather intriguing line about how "rumours circulated through last year that two of the big European insurers - Axa and Generali - would try to get together".

That's the first time I have heard of that rumour for a while but perhaps Oliver Ralph, the insurance industry hack at the Financial Times, is/was more plugged in than me...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, AXA, Generali, FT, Financial Times

A New Year's question: will Michael Kors strike a deal in 2017?

Saturday, 31 December 2016, 4:50 pm

Now, there is a very good reason I posited a question in the headline. It's because I DON'T KNOW whether the well-known fashion brand and retailer Michael Kors will actually merge or sell itself.

However, here is what I do know: I have spent the best part of a couple months investigating a variety of takeover rumours about Michael Kors. Below is what I have have up with so far.....

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Michael Kors

Top of the market? - the series returns...-part 2

Saturday, 31 December 2016, 1:48 pm

It looks like I was barking up the right tree when I re-introduced my "top of the market?" series late last week.

Today, the The Times splashed its business section with a piece about how City analysts fear a major stockmarket sell off in 2017.

In case your interested, I have pasted a link below to the piece, which was written by my former colleague Katherine Griffiths, one of the hardest working hacks I had the pleasure to work with:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, the times

M&A round-up: FT says flurry of big deals fires M&A activity to second highest level since 2007 crisis but, er, The Times says M&A deals fall by half amid global trade fears

Friday, 30 December 2016, 10:52 am

It's that time of the year where the data providers go into a a bit of PR frenzy to convince M&A hacks to write stories to use their data for end-of-year round up pieces. It's also that time of the year when M&A hacks unlucky enough to find themselves still in the newsroom are scratching about for a half decent story idea after their boss has yelled at them for copy to fill large, blank spaces on their pages...

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Top of the market? - the series returns...

Thursday, 29 December 2016, 9:51 am

Apologies for the lack of posts Betavillers - I have a had a few (deserved?) days off enjoying the holidays.

Fear not, though, I'm now back in full force. Yes, while many of little old Betaville's competitors continue their merrymaking I'm back at my desk looking to break big stories, provide thoughtful insight and also crack a few jokes...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, FTSE 100

Fresh bank rows in the offing? - part 2

Thursday, 22 December 2016, 6:52 pm

Royal Bank of Scotland might have been hit with bunch of fresh legal claims (see my post from earlier in the week) but yesterday the beleugered bank won its long-running legal tussle with Manchester-based developer Property Alliance Group.

In fact, it really was a comprehensive win for taxpayer-owned RBS, with the bank winning all counts in the UK's first judgement in a civil Libor-related claim...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Royal Bank of Scotland

RARE ALERT: Walt Disney Co said to have rekindled interest in buying Twitter; price agreed - part 4

Wednesday, 21 December 2016, 10:44 pm

I'm sure I will be on the receiving end of a load of unpleasant abuse from various trolls after this little update but I think loyal and sensible readers deserve a follow up piece since my original RARE ALERT about Walt Disney rekindling its interest in buying Twitter. Here is a link to that piece published in October:..

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1 comments | Tags: betaville, Twitter, Walt Disney

Chinese still circling...

Monday, 19 December 2016, 5:19 pm

This year has thrown up plenty of surprises. Politics aside, it's the global M&A boom led by Chinese buyers that was quite unexpected. There had always been plenty of banker talk about China-backed bids of western companies but I don't think many commentators would have predicted this year's huge surge in dealmaking by Chinese businesses...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, 2016, Chinese, China

Chinese circle Fingerprint Cards - part 2

Thursday, 15 December 2016, 7:02 pm

Little old Betaville has been taking a bit of stick on Twitter recently for the story on Fingerprint Cards published a couple of months ago. So, I thought I would pen a note to clarify a few things for readers who seem to be obsessed by this Nordic biometric technology company...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Chinese, Fingerprint

British vet giant could be put on the block; may fetch as much as £350 million - part 2

Wednesday, 14 December 2016, 3:37 pm

This deal announcement in the Vet Times (see below) seemed to slip under the radar somewhat but I'm noting it as little old Betaville was the first to break the story a few weeks ago about Independent Vetcare being put up for sale.

https://www.vettimes.co.uk/news/independent-vetcare-announces-new-investor/..

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Nutmegged on Ladbrokes Coral and GVC £4.2 billion merger talks

Friday, 9 December 2016, 6:37 pm

It's always rather frustrating when you spent of a lot of time and effort trying to stack up a scoop and then a well-resourced rival publication pips you at the post. And that's what happened this afternoon when the chaps at the Financial Times and FT Alphaville ran their stories about Ladbrokes Coral and GVC weighing a £4.2 billion merger.

Here are links to Bryce Elder's market report and also the FT's follow up news report by Paul McLean and Bryce:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Ladbrokes, GVC

Stada said to be working with Goldman Sachs on "strategic options"; predators circle - sources

Thursday, 8 December 2016, 5:32 pm

German drug company Stada Arzneimittel has begun working with financial advisers to weigh the group's "strategic options".

According to two sources familiar with the matter, generic drug group Stada is said to be working with bankers from Goldman Sachs after receiving informal expressions of interest from potential acquirers...

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Revealed: secret name of consortium preparing £12 billion bid for National Grid distribution business - sources - part 2

Thursday, 8 December 2016, 8:15 am

So, coming up with a silly name to differentiate your consortium from the other Chinese bidders clearly does work. This morning it was announced the mega consortium, which called itself (in secret) the "Saxon Infrastructure Distribution Company", has won the £13 billion National Grid gas distribution auction...

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Upmarket caterer Rhubarb close to £100 million sale; Bregal Freshstream and Graphite Capital said to be some of the buy-out firms participating in second round - part 2

Tuesday, 6 December 2016, 7:23 pm

The Rhubarb deal I wrote a few weeks ago has been announced (see below) - although reportedly at a slightly lower valuation than I expected (Dom Walsh at The Times today reported at around £75 million).

http://www.ecipartners.com/news-and-insights/news/2016/rhubarb-exit..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Rhubarb

Hat tip

Friday, 2 December 2016, 6:13 pm

Apologies if this a bit late in the day but I think its worthwhile flagging up a rather good scoop written by one of my old colleagues from my time at The Daily Telegraph.

Katherine Griffiths, now Banking Editor at The Times, landed the splash in this morning with her exclusive tale about how the regulators are looking to find a buyer for Manchester Building Society, reminding the world of the British building society crises in 2008/9...

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RARE ALERT: Walt Disney Co said to have rekindled interest in buying Twitter; price agreed - part 3

Thursday, 1 December 2016, 4:48 pm

It would appear some people in the echo chamber on the other side of the pond don't "get" Betaville. This is particularly evident with aspects of my recent Twitter stories, which are being mis-represented on Twitter (I realise there are many ironies here). Either that or there are some scallywags trying to deliberately mis-quote Betaville in markets for their own ends...

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3 comments | Tags: betaville, Walt Disney, Twitter

RARE ALERT: Walt Disney Co said to have rekindled interest in buying Twitter; price agreed - part 2

Thursday, 1 December 2016, 8:15 am

Little old Betaville's has had a lot of enquiries from readers about where the Twitter auction has got to since I wrote about it a month ago in a RARE ALERT. And this week's news that Twitter will stream Disney's Stars Wars content has really got readers scratching their heads about the sale process. Here is a link to the announcement:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Walt Disney, Twitter

Montague returns...

Thursday, 24 November 2016, 12:09 pm

Robert Montague hasn't featured in British business sections for quite some time. Perhaps, though, that's a good thing for him because the last time the entrepreneur hit the headlines the company he built into a FTSE 100 business - Tiphook, a container and truck leasing business - was imploding and Montague was declared bankrupt with personal debts of £30 million...

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Bridgepoint said to have hired Baird to work on Hobbyrcraft - sources

Saturday, 19 November 2016, 7:59 am

This isn't earth shattering news but probably interesting for deal watchers in Britain's retail sector.

This week I learned that UK-based private equity firm Bridgepoint has hired investment bankers from Baird to work on a secret project for Hobbycraft, one of Britain's largest arts and craft retailers. Banking sources claimed to me that Baird had been appointed to carry out a strategic review (banker parlance for sale) of Hobbycraft...

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0 comments | Tags: Bridgepoint, Hobbycraft, betaville

Mediclinic said to weigh £1.8 billion plus takeover bid for Spire Healthcare - part 2

Thursday, 17 November 2016, 10:44 pm

I note Bloomberg earlier this week published a tale about Mediclinic taking a look at Amana Healthcare, a private medical-care provider in the United Arab Emirates. According to the newswire service, Amana has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to explore a sale that may value the company at $400 million...

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RARE ALERT: HM Treasury said to be weighing major changes to property tax; may even abolish stamp duty - part 3

Tuesday, 15 November 2016, 5:26 pm

I see my former employer, The Daily Telegraph, has picked up on a theme little old Betaville has been writing about for the last month or so. Today, the venerable newspaper splashed the main book on a campaigning piece - dubbed 'Stamp duty' - advocating major changes to the tax (for readers outside of the UK you have to pay stamp duty when you purchase a property). Here is a link to the The Daily Telegraph's splash story:..

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The former Marks & Spencer boss, Sir Philip Green's PR man and, er, The Donald

Monday, 14 November 2016, 1:25 pm

Little old Betaville has been running now for a couple of years and has developed a bit of a following in the City. And some readers are now even offering to write pieces for little old Betaville.

So, as a bit of an experiment, below is a contribution from a certain “Mr Shears”. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A contribution from Mr Shears:

There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip, as my old boss used to say...

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Shire said to be participating in Merrimack Pharmaceuticals "strategic review" - sources

Friday, 11 November 2016, 12:33 am

Reuters landed a good story earlier this week about a US biopharmaceutical company called Merrimack Pharmaceuticals carrying out a "strategic review" (banker parlance for a sale or sale of assets). Here is a link to the Reuters piece:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-merrimack-pharma-m-a-idUSKBN1342QZ..

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Upmarket caterer Rhubarb close to £100 million sale; Bregal Freshstream and Graphite Capital said to be some of the buy-out firms participating in second round

Thursday, 10 November 2016, 5:46 pm

I realise Trump is the only major news story in town at the moment but here's a little tale for the mid-market dealmaking village back in Blighty.

Word is private equity firm ECI is closing in on a £100 million sale of upmarket caterer Rhubarb, which has contracts with the Royal Albert Hall and Goodwood Estate...

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Revealed: secret name of consortium preparing £12 billion bid for National Grid distribution business - sources

Sunday, 30 October 2016, 1:22 pm

The £12 billion auction for National Grid's distribution business is hotting up and top M&A reporters are breaking stories left, right and centre.

Last week, for example, the Kleinmanator of Sky News published a good scoopette about how Hermes had joined a consortium of investors led by CIC, the Chinese state's sovereign wealth fund. Here is a link to Mark's piece:..

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Coach said to be working with Evercore on possible $20 billion Burberry merger - sources

Friday, 21 October 2016, 11:07 pm

US retailer Coach is working with corporate financiers on a potential combination with Burberry to create a $20 billion luxury clothing giant, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Coach has been talking to financial advisers from Evercore for several weeks about the potential deal, according to two sources familiar with the situation...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Coach, Blackstone, Burberry

British American Tobacco confirms Reynolds American scoops (s?) - part 2

Friday, 21 October 2016, 10:56 am

On second thoughts perhaps Jonthan Leinster, a scribbler over stockbroker Berenberg, should claim the this morning's BAT / Reynolds scoop. At 6:00 am this morning (so before the market had open) the analyst, who upgraded BAT to "buy", published a note raising the prospect of the London-listed tobacco giant buying the remaining 58pc of Reynolds that it doesn't own. I have pasted the salient paragraph below:..

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British American Tobacco confirms Reynolds American scoop (s?)

Friday, 21 October 2016, 8:04 am

It's taken two years but British American Tobacco has finally got round to confirming a piece I wrote in the The Times a couple years ago about the giant cigarette group hiring Deutsche Bank alongside UBS with a view to making a $47 billion bid for Reynolds American.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/consumer/article4086903.ece..

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RARE ALERT: Meritage Homes Corporation said to be targeting William Lyon Homes; President and CEO says "no deal"

Thursday, 20 October 2016, 11:49 pm

It's been a while since I aired some random RARE on Betaville but I came across an intriguing tale that I thought might be of interest to readers, especially those on the other side of the Atlantic.

Word is US housebuilder Meritage Homes Corporation has been working with investment bankers on a takeover of smaller rival William Lyon Homes...

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Spotted: Lord O'Neill of Gatley

Wednesday, 19 October 2016, 7:26 am

I saw Lord O'Neill of Gatley, also known as Jim O'Neill, out of the corner of my eye whilst little old Betaville was at an informal meeting at the uber-suave Dover Street Arts Club (in Mayfair, London) yesterday afternoon.

Baron O'Neill, an economist, is the former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, former Conservative government minister and once helped lead the Red Knights' takeover bid for Manchester United Football Club...

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Mack-Smith splurges on wild dinner - sauces

Tuesday, 11 October 2016, 10:58 pm

As usual, there were plenty of high-flying City types that bid for all sorts of prizes at last week's annual Countryside Alliance "wine auction" dinner held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London a week ago.

Those in attendance included billionaire duty free tycoon Bob Miller, Gulf dealmaker Amanda Staveley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch financier Simon MacKenzie-Smith...

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Shire said to edge closer to Radius deal - sources

Tuesday, 11 October 2016, 12:07 am

Shire is closing in on a multi-billion dollar takeover of US-listed Radius Health, a company that specialises in developing treatments for people with osteoporosis.

To be fair, rumours about Shire's interest in Radius are not particularly new. Talk of Shire pouncing on Radius, which currently has a market capitalisation of $2.2 billion, has been doing the rounds over the last twelve months...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Radius, Shire, Pfizer, Amgen

Blair banker joins former Republican presidential candidate's private equity firm - sources

Monday, 10 October 2016, 4:48 pm

Remember Russell Chambers?

In case you don't, let me remind you. Russell is the smooth-talking Credit Suisse investment banker who hit the headlines in the early Noughties after he invited Tony Blair onto his boat in Barbados and lent the former British Prime Minister some swim shorts. Here is a link to a piece on the topic:..

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Brokers tip fresh Bpost and Post NL merger talks in 2017

Thursday, 6 October 2016, 8:58 pm

I see ING is airing a similar line to the one I mentioned on Tip TV earlier this week about Bpost's lingering enthusiasm for a takeover of Dutch group Post NL.

In case you don't recall, Belgian mail group Bpost and Holland's Post NL held merger talks in May this year but the deal fell over after it "leaked" in the local press. Bloody journos!..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, BP Post, Post NL

Apollo poised to purchase stake in Lloyd's of London underwriter Ariel Re, according to The Insurance Insider

Wednesday, 5 October 2016, 5:22 pm

Some dealmakers I talk to are rather glum. That's because there has been quite a bit of talk of a post summer slowdown in M&A.

However, one sector that is red hot at the moment is insurance. This week alone there have been several major transactions announced, including Sompo's £5.3 billion takeover of Endurance and NN Group's EURO 2.4 billion bid for Delta Lloyd...

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ITV dumps the jolly nice chaps and chapettes at JP Morgan - sources

Tuesday, 4 October 2016, 6:04 pm

The corporate broking merry-go-round continues unabated in the City of London.

I'm told ITV has just got rid of JP Morgan and replaced its longstanding corporate broker, formerly known as JP Morgan Cazenove, with Citigroup. Citigroup corporate brokers are now working for ITV alongside Credit Suisse, according to people familiar with the matter...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, ITV, JP Morgan

Back on Tip TV talking about Henderson Group, Molson Coors and Illumina

Monday, 3 October 2016, 1:48 pm

I have pasted a link to today's Tip TV session below for avid followers who failed to tune in for this morning's banter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp6YxOLwrb8

UPDATE: Apologies - in today's session I refer to the speculation around a potential bid from Roche for Illumina valuing the business at $25 billion but in fact what I meant to say was $35 billion. ..

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Exane BNP Paribas's "rumour du jour": Megabrew - part 2

Friday, 30 September 2016, 9:46 am

It's only been a couple of days since shareholders voted to approve Anheuser-Busch Inbev's $100 billion takeover of FTSE 100-listed SAB Miller but already the market has moved onto pastures new, speculating about the next massive beer deal.

Yesterday, French stockbroker Exane BNP Paribas published a massive note about the latest "rumour du jour" - talk of Heineken, now the world's second largest brewer, having a crack at purchasing US-listed Molson Coors...

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Lord Mayor setback for Sir Paul - part 3

Thursday, 29 September 2016, 2:56 pm

So, yesterday's tale about Sir Paul Judge missing out on the Lord Mayor of London role, again, was bang on the money as the City of London Corporation has just made a formal announcement about the next Lord Mayor, which I have pasted below...

News Release

City of London Corporation

29 September 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW CITY LORD MAYOR ELECTED

..

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A wrinkle

Tuesday, 27 September 2016, 10:23 pm

It would appear one of the world's most powerful investment banks has landed a role on the Reuben Brothers' £5.2 billion sale of data storage company Global Switch to a group of Chinese investors.

Top sources have told little old Betaville Goldman Sachs has picked up a mandate advising on the deal, first revealed in the The Sunday Times a month or so ago...

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Chinese circle Fingerprint Cards - sources

Wednesday, 21 September 2016, 5:11 pm

Another day, another attempt by a Chinese company to buy a western business. This time the potential target is Fingerprint Cards, the Swedish biometric technology business.

According to three sources familiar with the situation, a Chinese company approached Fingerprint Cards this summer about a potential takeover deal that is likely to value the Gothenburg-based business at well over its current market capitalisation of SEK 33 billion (£3 billion)...

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Is there a row brewing over the SAB Miller vote? - part 2

Tuesday, 20 September 2016, 11:07 pm

This piece (click on the link below) from the Wall Street Journal on the upcoming vote on the £75 billion SAB Miller deal is eerily similar to a piece I wrote on little old Betaville a few weeks ago.

Here is the link to the Wall Street Journal article:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/hedge-funds-complicate-sabmiller-vote-1474390913..

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Flag pole alert - the series returns

Tuesday, 20 September 2016, 4:40 pm

Apparently, Japan Tobacco are in London town this week for a "presentation". This has set a few tongues wagging. However, from what I understand the Japanese ciggie giant is here to talk to investors i.e. they are in town for an investor roadshow.

Still, I'm re-introducing Betaville's flag pole series in case there is more to it. For readers who don't recall, I have pasted a few links of past flag pole stories...

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RARE ALERT: HM Treasury said to be weighing major changes to property taxes; may even abolish stamp duty

Thursday, 15 September 2016, 6:38 pm

It's not often little old Betaville comes up with the RARE about politics and Government policy (people who know me well know that I'm more of a corporate reporter) but I stumbled upon some policy RARE earlier this week that, if true, will have major implications for home owners, estate agents, housebuilders and, I guess, the British economy...

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SFO battered - again...

Tuesday, 13 September 2016, 3:08 pm

The Serious Fraud Office is once again coming under fire.

This time the business section of The Times splashed on an intriguing tale from Katherine Griffiths - a former colleague from my time at The Daily Telegraph and now Banking Editor at The Times - about how the SFO has, so far, failed to go after the "higher ups" involved in the whole Libor fixing affair.

Here is a link a to Katherine's excellent piece, which is well worth a read:..

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Deal Thursday

Thursday, 8 September 2016, 8:56 am

The summer is over (well, in the UK at least) and dealmaking has roared back into life.

This morning the Kleinmanator's mega scoop from last night about Micro Focus buying Hewlett-Packard's software division for $8 billion was confirmed on the Regulatory News Service, sending the the company's stock over 20pc higher...

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Is there a row brewing over the SAB Miller vote?

Tuesday, 6 September 2016, 8:33 am

Clearly, all eyes this week will be on how Elliott, the edgy US hedge fund, plans to vote its 25pc stake in discount retailer Poundland after switching its shares into physical stock. Is it a bluff, a double bluff or even a triple bluff? The market will find out soon enough.

Ironically, though, it's one of Elliott's rather large positions held in another company - SAB Miller - via contracts for differences that is causing a frisson of anxiety among investors...

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Peculiarities with Poundland bid

Wednesday, 31 August 2016, 8:56 pm

The sharp suited types over at Elliott - the punchy American hedge fund that often makes big, acitivist punts on events - have done something rather unusual: the hedgies have switched most of the near 23pc position in Poundland into physical equity...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Elliot, Poundland

Air Liquide said to have hired Goldman Sachs to sell Aqua Lung for $400 million - sources

Monday, 29 August 2016, 12:32 pm

French industrial gases giant Air Liquide is exploring a sale of the company that invented Scuba diving equipment and was founded by the well-known oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.

Air Liquide has asked bankers at Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for Aqua Lung, which was formerly known as La Spirotechnique. People familiar with the matter said information packs have already been sent to potential buyers, many of whom are likely to be private equity firms...

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AIG poised to begin sale of Lloyd's of London insurer Ascot Re- part 2

Tuesday, 23 August 2016, 8:58 pm

I see the Twitterati on Twitter (there are quite a few words beginning with twit, here) are claiming the mighty Wall Street Journal this afternoon broke the story or landed the "scoop" about AIG selling Ascot, the Lloyd's of London insurer.

Funny that because I'm sure I published a story this morning about how AIG is gearing up to sell Ascot. Here is the link:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, AIG, Ascot, Lloyd's of London

AIG poised to begin sale of Lloyd's of London insurer Ascot

Tuesday, 23 August 2016, 7:35 am

That last bastion of old school broking - the Lloyd's of London insurance market - may soon be a fertile environment for dealmakers.

I'm hearing from good industry sources that US insurance giant AIG is gearing up for a potential sale of Ascot. Ascot is a member of the Lloyd's market, where it's not unusual for brokers and underwriters to go out for a long boozy lunch and return to work fours hours later completely inebriated. In fact, in some places it's encouraged...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Ascot Re, AIG, Lloyd's of London

Airline shenanigans

Saturday, 20 August 2016, 2:44 pm

I see the most of the British newspaper market reports ran the easyJet bid tale for a second day in a row.

However, the likes of Bryce Elder of the Financial Times and Martin Waller of The Times put a somewhat cynical spin on the jackanory, alluding to the gossip as a "silly season" story that typically come about during the dog days of August...

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Is the tide turning for Odey the Brexiteer? - part 6

Wednesday, 17 August 2016, 9:00 am

Things have gone from bad to worse for the charasmatic Crispin this year. It's clear the Brexit bounce (following the market sell off) for his flagship European fund was only temporary and now he is down 29.2pc (according to the latest investment letter seen by little old Betaville).

Still, what's impressive is that rather than capitulating Odey is backing his overall bearish outlook by sticking most of his fund in gold. Punchy!..

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Praxair in talks with Linde about $60 billion merger, WSJ reports

Tuesday, 16 August 2016, 11:45 am

Typically, August is one of the quietest periods for M&A. But this year things have really been turned on their head, with this Augsut fast becoming one of the busiest I can recall for dealmaking.

Today, Eyk Henning of the venerated Wall Street Journal landed the mega scoop about Praxair's $60 billion merger talks with Linde. Hap tip to the intrepid Eyk for landing that blockbuster jackanory. Here is the link in case you missed it:..

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, Paxair Linde, Linde, Praxair

William Hill shenanigans

Tuesday, 9 August 2016, 6:53 pm

I must say this William Hill situation really has thrown up some quite bizarre behaviour by "people close to the situation".

I understand that some "people close to the situation" (you know who you are) had been claiming my scoop from a couple of weeks ago in The Sunday Times about Rank and 888 holding merger talks ahead of making a £3 billion bid for William Hill wasn't a true "scoop" because we didn't get the story "quite right"...

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0 comments | Tags: betaville, William Hill, Rank, 888 Holding

Green around the gills

Friday, 5 August 2016, 2:56 pm

Watching Newsnight last night left me feeling bemused.

The final interview was with Harriet Green, the controversial former boss of Thomas Cook. She has many admirers in the City for being a highly motivated self starter who led the turnaround of the FTSE 250 travel company when it ran into financial difficulty. Green now heads up IBM's 'internet of things' division in the US...

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Ruddy

Thursday, 4 August 2016, 11:15 am

It's great to see a former colleague flourishing in his new (ish) job.

Graham "Ruddy" Ruddick was a graduate trainee when I was working the markets and M&A beat at The Daily Telegraph a few years ago. ..

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Global Eagle Entertainment said to draw takeover interest from China's HNA - sources

Wednesday, 3 August 2016, 7:35 pm

I have talked a bit about this situation on Tip TV during the last couple of weeks but now I think I have bottomed it out, so readers/viewers might appreciate a more detailed story on Betaville.

Chinese conglomerate HNA is weighing a takeover of US-listed Global Eagle Entertainment, according to two sources familiar with the matter...

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Berukoff's Brexit boon

Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 12:41 pm

It's not just international FTSE 100 companies that are benefiting from a Brexit bounce driven by investors seeking companies that generate earnings outside of Blighty.

I'm hearing certain gold mining stocks, such as Lion One Metals, that aren't reliant on sterling, US dollars and Euros are also seeing strong interest from London-based investors looking to diversify their portfolios away from Brexit impacted currencies ...

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Retail titbits - part 4

Monday, 6 June 2016, 12:00 am

Oh look - I see another one of little old Betaville's stories has been confirmed this morning with the announcement that Radley has been sold to Bregal Freshstream, a new (ish) private equity firm.

In case you don't recall, little old Betaville was the first global media outlet to "exclusively reveal" that Bregal Freshstream, which is backed by a wealthy Dutch family, was participating in the Radley auction...

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