Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wodehouse on Mergers

On vacation in sunny Central Oregon last week, I read a classic from one of my favorite writers, P.G. Wodehouse - Jeeves in the Morning. Few others can brighten one's mood like Wodehouse, particularly any of his stories involving Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. The Britishisms practically beg to be read aloud for maximum comic effect.

Jeeves in the Morning, written late in Wodehouse's life, is classic Wooster, bumbling his way into one increasingly dire situation after another - insulting his rich uncle, inadvertently getting engaged, burning his rented cottage, etc. It also features an M&A angle: The principal situation from which all of the ancillary troubles spin is Bertie's attempt (on Jeeve's suggestion, of course) to set up a clandestine meeting for merger discussions between his uncle's Pink Funnel steamship line and its American competitor, the Clam Line. Great stuff.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Miner's Joy

I couldn't possibly keep up with the wild action going on in mining company M&A, but this morning brings another development on the most volatile situation in the sector - the battle for Canadian nickel miner Inco. Readers will recall that Inco is engaged in a friendly tie-up with copper king Phelps Dodge, and that zinc miner and fellow Canadian Teck Cominco has lobbed in increasingly aggressive hostile bids.

Today brings a new entrant, Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce. CVRD, the world's biggest iron miner, fired over a hostile bid of around $15B (plus debt assumption). Inco may not have wanted an auction, but they've got one now.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Say No More on SarBox

Equity Private has another post today on the cost to U.S. business of Sarbanes Oxley compliance. In the post (and an earlier one), she provides a detailed and thoughtful way of looking at SarBox compliance expense. I can only add this: Having witnessed the compliance effort first-hand, including having had to manage the process for my department as we struggled through the initial implementation after SarBox took effect, EP's cost assumptions are without question understated.