Facebook, TeamViewer, audio mergers and acquisitions – Breakingviews



– Facebook whistleblower

– European zoom

– GN Store North / Steel Series

– Manchester United

– Tui

– Hong Kong SPAC

– Australian house prices

Work it out. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is going to be hard to discredit. She has a shrewd PR campaign to thank for it.

She started out as an anonymous source for a Wall Street Journal investigation, then came to light on the popular US news show “60 Minutes.” Almost simultaneously, she had the franceshaugen.com website ready to go. Fans could sign up to receive email updates from her and she even linked a press contact. She concluded with articulate testimony ahead of a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

Companies from Google to Tesla have been accused of waging smear campaigns against employees and other whistleblowers who have raised public grievances. This helped Haugen have thousands of documents to back up her claims that Mark Zuckerberg’s company did little to curb hate speech and change what it knew to be the detrimental effect of Instagram on adolescent mental health. Yet the media blitz is a model for other potential whistleblowers to emulate. (By Gina Chon)

Questionable connection. Tech investors will put up with years of meager earnings for the promise of growth. Yet, as € 3.7 billion video software specialist TeamViewer found out on Wednesday, they are ruthless if revenue starts to slow. The German group lowered its financial targets for the third time this year. Companies that bought its video conferencing software at the start of the pandemic are cutting back on spending. “Many of you will be disappointed,” Stefan Gaiser, CFO, said on a call to analysts and investors. He was right: TeamViewer shares have fallen by more than 25% and are now worth a third less than their 2019 IPO price.

The plunge is embarrassing for private equity group Permira, which still owns 20%. But the bigger lesson is that the winners of last year’s pandemic can easily become losers. Shares in food delivery groups like DoorDash have skyrocketed, in part because investors are hoping foreclosure-era demand will persist. The TeamViewer crash shows what happens when those hopes turn out to be hollow. (By proud Liam)

Hearing is nothing. The GN Store North of Denmark places an expensive bet on young people. The $ 9 billion retirement hearing aid maker said on Wednesday it was spending DKK 8 billion ($ 1.3 billion) for SteelSeries, which makes sophisticated headsets popular with young gamers.

GN, listed in Copenhagen, could benefit from a boost. The company lowered revenue growth forecasts for its basic hearing aid unit on Tuesday, citing delays in product launches. Over the past year, shares have been lower than Italian hearing aid retailer Amplifon, which announced hard-hitting sales growth targets last month.

GN’s appetite for the deal is clear. SteelSeries achieved 1.3 billion crowns of revenue in the first half of 2021, implying that its enterprise value is 3.1 times full-year sales. This is a significant premium for US rivals Corsair Gaming and Turtle Beach, which are trading in line with their estimated earnings this year, according to forecasts compiled by Refinitiv. GN is banking on technology and supply chain synergies to make up the difference, and with stocks rebounding 5% on Wednesday morning, investors appear ready to lend a sympathetic ear. (By Oliver Taslic)

Double glazing. Football star Cristiano Ronaldo has so far helped Manchester United’s course of action more than its results on the pitch. The $ 3 billion club’s equity value has risen 12% since the Portuguese striker signed in late August, a period in which the team have won just three games in seven games. This is not lost on the controlling Glazer family, two of whose members sell shares worth a combined $ 186 million.

The liquidation is unlikely to appease fans, many of whom want the club to have more free float so fans can have more of their say. Instead, the clan is still firmly in the driver’s seat: its overall ownership will drop from 74.9% to 69%, and it will retain almost all of the voting rights via special Class B shares. The Glazers seem to just be removing a few tokens. of the table. Manchester United’s share price is now back to where it was before the pandemic, but earnings will not fully recover until 2023, Refinitiv data shows. The sale of Glazer shares seems timely. (By proud Liam)

Place in the sun. Tui is packing a capital lounge chair just as darkness sets in over the holiday season in Europe. The Germany-based tour operator – the continent’s largest – has announced a rights issue to raise € 1.1 billion to repay state loans. A second capital increase in less than a year and the sharp 35% reduction in the offer of the theoretical price of the shares excluding rights do not seem to have discouraged investors, including the 32% shareholder and the tycoon of the company. Russian Steel Alexey Mordashov: The stock was trading broadly flat on Wednesday morning.

Such optimism will warm boss Friedrich Joussen, who boasted that late summer bookings were already ahead of 2019 levels. Granted, next year’s € 1.5 billion EBITDA is expected to exceed the total before Tui’s pandemic. But if you include new money, net debt could still rise to 4.7 billion euros next year, according to data from Refinitiv. This is around 3 times EBITDA, compared to a multiple of less than 1 in 2019. Joussen will need holidaymakers’ desire to travel to stay strong if he wants to avoid a new capital increase. (By Christophe Thompson)

Bad exchange. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has boosted the city’s consultation on US-style special purpose acquisition companies. She signaled the plans for them in her annual political speech on Wednesday. But the reception of the idea by financiers has been unusually mixed so far, although anything that earns a fee while helping the Fragrant Port compete with New York is generally applauded. They are skeptical that the proposed framework will pay off on either score.

The local exchange’s plans contain guarantees never before seen in New York, including limiting SPACs to professional investors and the minimum size requirement of $ 128 million. These, bankers fear, will deter PSPC promoters even if they recognize that stricter rules are needed because of the city’s history of questionable backdoor listings. The minimum size is still beyond many cash-seeking startups, for example. Hong Kong could perhaps make more of a difference by targeting these small businesses rather than trying to copy New York. (By Jennifer Hughes)

Stretch at home. A small bucket of cold water is poured into the scorching Down Under real estate market. A day after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe stressed the importance of lending standards, even while pledging to keep interest rates ultra-low, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority on Wednesday asked banks to use a slightly harder cushion – 3 percentage points on the loan instead of 2.5 percentage points – to assess a borrower’s ability to pay off a mortgage.

While the change is minor, especially compared to measures implemented by neighboring New Zealand, it sends a signal of concern. There are good reasons to intervene. Some 22% of loans issued in the second quarter were more than six times the borrower’s income, up from 14% two years earlier. Household debt stands at 180% of income, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. While there is probably a delicate political balance in cooling a market so dependent on construction and house prices, there is a good chance that regulators will come knocking again. (By Jeffrey Goldfarb)


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