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Tag >> Deals
Uh oh. Here we go again.
Merely hearing the word "sub-prime" is enough to make you squirm. But, put it in the same sentence as "automaker" and suddenly you want to puke, or sell all of your equity investments.
Chocfinger has struck the cocoa market--buying up and taking delivery of 241,000 tons of cocoa last week at a value of £658 million ($1 billion). The purchases were made by hedge fund Armajaro under the direction of fund co-founder Anthony Ward—called Chocfinger after Goldfinger of James Bond fame—the legendary super villain who attempted to corner the gold market in the movie of the same name.
The purchase accounts for about 15 percent of global cocoa supplies and 25 percent of European cocoa supplies, according to the International Cocoa Organisation, and is the largest physical delivery of cocoa on the Liffe in 14 years.
Private equity deal-making activity may be making a comeback, but the collateralized loan obligation market, which helped fueled the buyout boom prior to the financial crisis, remains sluggish. That suggests we won't see a new LBO boom anytime soon.
PE-sponsored companies last year accounted for 34 percent of distressed exchanges, or so-called "extend and pretend" refinancing, since the deals extend the maturities of high-yield debt that is in technical default without retiring much if any of it. Since these companies were funded mostly with leveraged loans held in CLOs, the exchanges exposed more than 500 CLOs to 96 companies that defaulted in 2009, according to a recent Moody's Investors Service report. That means the CLO market is in no condition to support a new wave of big debt-fueled deals.
When shares of NBTY surged nearly 50 percent Thursday morning following the announcement that it would be acquired by The Carlyle Group for $3.8 billion, irate shareholders not only rejoiced over their huge sudden gains.
They also swung into legal action.
Google’s agreement to buy ITA Software—which supplies technology to power online flight and ticket price searches—has raised concerns over the neutrality of search engines and how, or if, search platforms should be regulated to ensure that neutrality.
The deal—which has a $700 million price-tag—would enable Google to list travel and ticket prices in response to searches, potentially giving it a big toehold in the online travel market. The question, however, is how the addition of new businesses—such as travel booking and other services—that are tertiary to Google’s primary search function are affecting the independence and neutrality of the search engine platform, and at what point fair competition within those industries is affected.
Venture capital fundraising in the US is at the lowest level in seven years and the likelihood that it will significantly increase in the next few years is slim.
Thirty eight US venture capital funds raised $1.9 billion in the second quarter of 2010, the worst three-month period since the third quarter of 2003, according to Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association.
European companies have come out against proposed EU-wide changes to the OTC derivatives market regulatory framework. The companies, including Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen, Bayer, and Lufthansa, backed a letter sent last week to the European Commission by the European Association of Corporate Treasurers (EACT) outlining their worries and suggesting that the changes could lead to another financial crisis if they are not tempered down.
The biggest concern is that the changes—found within the EC’s European Market Infrastructure Regulations (EMIR) draft—require more OTC contracts to be cleared through exchanges—a requirement that caused heated arguments in the US over the past year as OTC derivatives market legislation was crafted. In the US the current draft legislation—which is expected to be adopted soon—includes a large carve-out of this requirement for non-financial companies.
Not every company is sitting on its hands until the economy improves. Insurance giant Aon is taking on a significant amount of short-term debt to acquire Hewitt Consulting for $4.9 billion and spend on its brand to exploit new opportunities.
The Hewitt deal will help Aon get a firm foothold in human resources and benefits outsourcing, significantly increasing Aon's market share in this area and positioning the company to take on rival insurance broker and consulting big Marsh and McLennan. The move also gives Aon a more balanced mix of insurance brokerage and consulting revenue.
Last month, China's macroeconomic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, said it was working on eliminating filing requirements for managers of small private equity funds.
It would facilitate investment for funds with less than C¥500 million ($73.8 million), including US funds, and potentially boost expansion of US portfolio companies into China.
In addition to unrated bonds, another financing option that’s of increasing interest to global corporations is the Shari’ah-compliant bond market. Coming out of the crisis in a much healthier state than most other products and markets, Islamic finance has become a $1 trillion industry worldwide.
Not only did emerging market bonds show stronger fundamentals throughout the crisis, but the home countries of many big Islamic institutions are also oil-exporting countries that continue to boast fiscal surpluses and large current accounts.