Edition:
International

Ed Cropley

Glencore CEO’s top M&A pick is Glencore

Oct 15 2021

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sliding into Ivan Glasenberg’s shoes was never going to be easy. Glencore’s new boss, Gary Nagle, has inherited a $70 billion miner-cum-trader with a unique suite of metals crucial to a low-carbon economy, and a strategy for dirty coal that is thus far keeping investors onside. With that roadmap largely laid out by his South African compatriot, he needs something different to make his mark.

African phone-mast IPO priced for smooth safari

Oct 11 2021

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - An African operator of mobile phone masts is dialling down the hype for its second attempt at an initial public offering. If its New York listing goes ahead this week, IHS could become the largest Africa-focused company on Wall Street. A market value of up to $8 billion appears designed to win over even the most sceptical investor.

Drahi drags satellite M&A into near-earth orbit

Oct 04 2021

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Patrick Drahi’s next big deal could be out of this world, literally. France’s Eutelsat Communications last week rejected a 2.8 billion euro bid from the telecom tycoon. The prospect of a lucrative merger with 3 billion euro rival SES may tempt the Altice owner to try a relaunch.

UK trucker shortage tows inflation in its wake

Sep 27 2021

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - One way to stop a run on a bank is to drive a lorry-load of cash up to the front door and unload it in full public view. When the panic is caused by a shortage of drivers, as is the case at Britain’s petrol stations, that solution is not available. Handing out temporary visas to foreign hauliers or drafting in the army minimises the short-term disruption. The only long-term solution – sharply higher wages for truckers – puts further fire under inflation.

D.Telekom finds good route to poor destination

Sep 07 2021

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Deutsche Telekom has found a smart route to a questionable destination. The 85 billion euro German carrier is raising its stake in its T-Mobile US subsidiary by 5%, at a cost of roughly $8 billion. Doing so via a share-swap with SoftBank Group saves having to hand over all of that in cash. The bigger question is whether Chief Executive Tim Hoettges should be upping his holding in the first place.

Prosus pushes hard on Indian fintech door

Aug 31 2021

MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Prosus is pushing hard into India’s red-hot financial technology market. The Dutch tech investor announced on Tuesday that it’s paying $4.7 billion for BillDesk. Adding the subcontinental business dramatically enlarges the buyer’s existing PayU payment processing business and provides a profitable base to extend more credit. Given the growth on offer, the deal is not too pricey.

Maersk’s green ships have first-mover disadvantage

Aug 26 2021

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - A.P. Moller-Maersk’s laudable environmental haste could land the Danish shipping giant with a first-mover disadvantage. The $53 billion firm is splurging $1.4 billion on eight container vessels powered by “carbon-neutral” methanol. Customers like Amazon.com may well absorb the elevated costs, yet rivals who hold off could sail away with cheaper and greener halos.

Branson’s second space SPAC draws awkward parallel

Aug 23 2021

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Architects of blank-cheque mergers are whizzes at validating the stratospheric financial forecast. Revenues soar and losses transform into profits in five-year investment plans, at least on paper. Valuations, too, are carefully calibrated against rivals, some high-flying, others earthbound. In that regard, Richard Branson-backed Virgin Orbit’s deal to be bought by special purpose acquisition company NextGen Acquisition Corp II conforms to type. The comparisons to the lofty ambitions at Branson’s other space venture, Virgin Galactic, are an unfortunate by-product.

Nigeria flies the flag for corporate tax self-harm

Jul 20 2021

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - In Nigeria, only one of death and taxes is certain. Growing international pressure to fight climate change means Africa’s biggest economy needs to wean itself off its unhealthy reliance on oil receipts. Ad hoc targeting of foreign companies is a ham-fisted way of tapping alternative sources of revenue.

Branson space caper may have airline economics

Jul 16 2021

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Is Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic “space tourism” or just a glorified plane ride? Blue Origin, owned by rival billionaire Jeff Bezos, argues it’s the latter because the bearded tycoon last weekend did not cross the Kármán line, the internationally recognised boundary of proper space. There’s another similarity. Without a big jump in ticket prices, the $8 billion company’s financial trajectory may resemble the loss-making Virgin Atlantic airline.

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