Corporate Financier’s Notes by Aivars Jurcans
Done! And Done
Berkshire Hathaway has sold 99% of its remaining stake in Wells Fargo reducing its holdings to just USD 26.4 million in Q1 2021. Berkshire had once been the bank’s largest shareholder, owning nearly 1/10 of Wells’ stock.
Fininvest, the Berlusconi family holding company, has sold its 2% stake in Mediobanca for EUR 174 million. The deal is said to be part of “a readjustment of its financial investment portfolio”.
Berkshire Hathaway has taken a USD 943 million stake in Aon, an insurance brokerage, in Q1 2021.
AssetCo, an AIM listed company chaired by Martin Gilbert (the founder of Aberdeen Asset Management), has agreed to acquire Saracen Fund Managers, an Edinburgh-based boutique, for GBP 2.75 million. Founded in the late 1990s, Saracen has about GBP 120 million in assets under management.
Deals On The Table
Deutsche Bank is said to be considering selling Postbank Leasing, its Bonn-based subsidiary. The unit reported a profit of EUR 1 million in 2019.
Marqeta, a US digital payments firm, is said to have filed for an initial public offering. The company was valued at USD 4.3 billion in a USD 150 million funding round a year ago. Marqeta reported a net loss of USD 48 million on revenue of USD 58 million in 2020.
Marex, a UK commodities broker with rights to trade on the historic trading floor, is said to be considering listing on London Stock Exchange at an expected valuation of USD 650 million – USD 800 million. Marex reported pre-tax profits of USD 55 million on net revenue of USD 414.7 million in the year to December 2020.
Thanks, But No Deal
Sanne, a fund administration business, is said to have rejected a GBP 1.35 billion offer from Cinven, a private equity group.
Not So Fast
Genworth Financial, an insurer, is said to have deferred the initial public offering of Enact Holdings, its mortgage insurance unit, citing “significant trading volatility in the sector”. The IPO was expected to value the company at nearly USD 4 billion.
Pipe, a US platform that allows companies to sell their future revenue streams for discounted sums, has been valued at USD 2 billion in a USD 250 million funding round. The valuation is a 10-fold increase from its mark during a seed financing 1 year ago.
The aggregate debt of eurozone governments rose form 86% of GDP in 2019 to 100% in 2020, according to the European Central Bank.
About USD 28 billion have been invested in European startups in the year to March, according to Dealroom. That compares with USD 36 billion all last year, itself more than a double the 2016 total.
A Thought Worth Noting
“Banks must become more productive to remain relevant. And that means more computers and less people. … If I was giving advise to my kids, I’d say you probably don’t want to go into the financial industry. It’s likely to be a shrinking industry.”
Mike Mayo, analyst, Wells Fargo
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