– Bouygues (EN FP)/ Orange SA (ORA FP): Orange confirms this morning the well flagged rumours that it has renewed preliminary discussions with the Bouygues Group with a view to a consolidation with Bouygues Telecom. No indication on structure/pricing or timing. With i) Bouygues now having outperformed wider market by almost 15% since 08-Dec-15 rumours; ii) pre-rumour Bouygues EUR 34.5 pricing in already about EUR 8bn or EUR 23-24 per share for Bouygues’s Telecom assets; iii) Orange share price hardly moved since mid-Dec rumours of tie up started (despite any consideration understood to be 80% in Orange shares), and iv) any deal would be long dated with large execution/regulatory risk; would sell/short Bouygues here above EUR 38.
– BG Group (BG/ LN): Charm offensive by Shell’s CFO Simon Henry in Daily Mail article that BG deal is struck at break-even price of $60, and that despite further short-term weakness in crude could be observed, ‘Not even Goldman Sachs is projecting anything below $60 for the 15 years that we are talking about.’ Article also have Henry stating many shareholders have been supportive and although some, such as Capital, had sold out it did not mean they were against the deal. Expect further public, charm offensives by Shell in next couple of days/weeks (and obviously also some public pushback). His comments – if true and substantiated- about Capital Group (who is understood to be against BG deal) are somehow marginally positive, and somehow pre-empt any further crude weakness in next weeks. Core position.
– Kuoni Reisen (KUNN SW): After Bloomberg reported yesterday afternoon that EQT Partners has emerged as a strong contender among other financial investors to take Kuoni private, Kuoni confirmed this morning it has received preliminary approaches from third parties regarding a potential offer for the Kuoni Group and its businesses. These statements/rumours follow Nov-15 news that Kuoni had appointed a new CEO and mid-Dec Swiss reports that it had hired Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley to examine options for the group and find potential buyers for any of the 3 group units. As commented earlier today, we like the situation, and would initiate position in (low) CHF 280s. Downside CHF 235-245. Upside: CHF 290-340.
– Ten Cate (KTC NA): TenCate intends to give a first preliminary indication of the results for its 2015 financial year before market hours on Jan 12.; while the extended offer is expected to expire on Jan 14. Although release of this information was somehow pressured to be released by some minority shareholders (like VEB), this is slightly dangerous and very late measure to get shareholders tendering (or not). Base case remains that Gilde consortium will obtain 66.67% at the end of the extended offer (with still very remote possibility of a last minute bump). Would have Ten Cate at current levels.