Friday, 25 January 2008

Scottish & Newcastle approached by Heineken

Heineken is set to assume the mantle of Britain's biggest brewer after teaming up with Carlsberg to launch a recommended bid for Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) worth more than 800p a share (£10 billion).

Although a counterbid from the likes of Anheuser-Busch or SABMIller remains a possibility, analysts believe that the price being paid by the bidding consortium, which is 80p more than its first offer in October last year, is unlikely to be topped.

The shares were trading at 637p before the first approach in the autumn. In the event of a rival bid, Carlsberg and Heineken would receive a break fee of £780 million, or 1 per cent of S&N's equity value.

Under the proposed deal, Carlsberg, which is being advised by Lehman Brothers, is expected to fund about 56% of the purchase, with its Dutch partner paying 44%. Heineken, which is being advised by Credit Suisse, has secured debt finance from a consortium led by Credit Suisse, Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Fortis, HSBC, ING and JPMorgan Chase. (source: Timesonline)

A day before Fred Gehring, the Tommy Hilfiger chief executive, was due to begin an investor roadshow, Apax, the London-based private equity group, blamed market turmoil yesterday as it scrapped the $4billion (£2billion) float of Tommy Hilfiger, the fashion label.

Apax planned to sell a 25% stake through the listing on Euronext in Amsterdam, where Tommy Hilfiger has its headquarters. Apax would have retained a 50% share with senior management, staff and other private investors holding the balance.

The decision sparked fresh concerns that the consumer slowdown caused by the credit crunch has spread to the upmarket fashion and luxury goods market. Coach, the largest US maker of luxury handbags, reported its weakest profits growth for eight years on Wednesday, while Richemont, home to the Cartier and Montblanc brands, said demand was slowing. Burberry, the UK label, this month said it may miss profit targets after poor sales in Spain.

Apax bought the label three years ago for $1.6 billion (£800 million) but the 56-year-old founder retained a minority stake and the role of principal designer. At the time the label had seen its US profits halve in five years. (source: Timesonline)

Meg Whitman, the chief executive of auction website eBay has resigned after a decade at the helm of the firm. Ms Whitman will be replaced by John Donahow, who is currently in charge of the firm’s main auction business.

The US firm posted a market-beating 53% rise in profits for the three months to December. Ms Whitman has been lauded for turning eBay into a powerhouse in e-commerce. She will remain a director at the firm.

When Ms Whitman joined the company in 1998, eBay said it had $4 million (£2 million) in revenue and 30 employees. It has since grown into a multi-billion dollar firm with 15,000 employees and has expanded into a variety of businesses, including buying online payments service PayPal and internet telephone service provider Skype.

But growth in its core listings business has stagnated and analysts are keenly anticipating a new strategy to deal with increasing competition. eBay's guidance on earnings for the coming year fell short of expectations and it is expected that its shares will fall when trading opens in New York on Thursday. (source: BBC News)

No comments: