The M&A Contenders List: 2018

M&A Markets Blog: January 2 2018

There is no detail at the moment on the list, just the names. Some are new contenders, others like ITV,  are as old as the hills.

However, there will be weekly updates on the M&A Markets blog here at, with colour and latest developments. If anyone has any further information on the names above, feel free to get in contact. The geographical breakdown is below:


Capital & Counties (CAPC) – Property Development

ITV (ITV) Media

Shire (SHP) – Pharma

Vectura (VEC) – Pharma



Altice (ATC) Netherlands – Telecom

Pernod Ricard (RI) France – Beverages

Temenos Group (TEMN) Switzerland – Software



Blackhawk Network (HAWK) – Payments

Bunge (BG) – Food

Fortinet (FTNT) U.S.A – Cybersecurity

Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) U.S.A – Pharma

Juniper Networks (JNPR)  – Producer / Wholesaler

KBR (KBR) – Engineering

Paratek Pharmaceuticals (PRTK) U.S.A – Pharmaceuticals

Vonage Holdings (VG) U.S.A – Telephony


The list can essentially be regarded as a what would have been described in the old days as “buy on weakness”, as the constituents are all undervalued situations which can be regarded as attractive to potential corporate buyers.

We look forward to ticking off the targets as they happen over the course of 2018

Disclaimer is a purely journalistic website – Zak Mir is a member of the National Union of Journalists. There is no intention here of providing financial advice. It is  recommended you seek an independent professional opinion before deciding whether or not to take any action with regard to anything written here.


The Great Christmas Shire Pharma Bid “Reheat” #SHP

Although for some reason the MSM does not mention this particular website, it is always keen to cite them. In this case  it is The Telegraph of which I am a proud “premium” subscriber.

Yesterday the publication highlighted rumours in the market regarding the possibility of Shire Pharma being taken over. As the article acknowledges, it is the silly season as far as M&A chatter is concerned, especially as anyone with the £45bn likely required to buy Shire has already taken the rest of December and most of January off.


Nevertheless, with the shares still languishing near the bottom of the multi year trading range at £35, and the stock market at the highs, something has to give soon here. Indeed, shareholders of Shire are paying the price of the anti-business tax inversion episode under the dormant President before Mr Trump. Due to this – the company should have been taken out 3 years ago by AbbVie, the company has been in limbo. Life sciences have boomed and the giants of pharma have consolidated in the meantime, but Shire has wilted.


At least from a trading view – and even without any further bid froth, one would expect from a price action perspective that while Shire remains above its 50 day moving average at 3,685p there could be an early 2018 rebound back towards the early summer 2017 resistance zone between 4,300p and 4,500p.

Could the “Bitcoin Rush” trigger the next financial crash?

By Zak Mir

A decade since the “global financial crisis” in 2007, everyone from analysts to market commentators (to people who actually know what they’re talking about) have been pondering what will end the QE fuelled rescue package? 

Apart from the moral hazard, the madness of ultra-low interest rates and the injustice of savers receiving next to nothing, it was always known that short-term step back from the abyss was the equivalent of knowingly stepping on a plane with no landing gear. 

Of course, we have also had all the factors which were supposed to deliver the next crash happened as well. These include, in no particular order, ridiculous real estate prices, painfully low wages for the masses, deflation, threats of collapses in the bond market, and even the odd nuclear weapon from North Korea. 


But each of these instances only appeared to underpin the bull run, with record highs especially for Wall Street and the so-called FANG stocks. Of course, last year offered the one event which was the ultimate ‘Black Swan’ (if you are one of the liberal metropolitan elite) which was supposed to crash the financial system: the appearance of Donald Trump in the White House. Ironically, even the mighty hedge fund legend George Soros lost money in betting against Trump and the US stock market. 

However, many of the imbalances caused by QE, ultra-low interest rates and the expansion of personal and sovereign debt not only remain, but have accelerated with all the metrics going into overdrive. The pending disaster has been even worse the most pessimistic of observers might have anticipated – yet the day of reckoning has stubbornly refused to dawn.  

But perhaps, as we wait for the inevitable – the collapse of the banking system again – who is the culprit? cryptocurrency of course. Although cryptocurrency/Internet cash has been around for much of the post-global financial crash period, it has only been in the last year that it has captured the imagination. 

Indeed, one could argue it has “come of age” due to fiat money becoming exactly the kind of (central bank printed) “funny money” that Bitcoin is accused of being by its detractors. The reality is, that central banks are increasingly draconian in terms of attempting to control money supply (especially cash) while Bitcoin, and its cousins are valued by market forces at their most pure. 

They say that you do not hear the bullet that kills you. But as far as Bitcoin and its crypto cousins, we have seen fiat currency being exchanged for this new form of money, at such a pace that it is difficult to imagine if anything in the financial markets will ever be the same again. It is not just peer-to-peer transfer money in an anonymous way which is revolutionary.  

At one stroke, there is a new asset class which is an easily divisible store of value – taking the crown from Gold, and can be moved around at the click of a mouse. Perhaps most of all, these new currencies are regarded as long-term investments, as genuine as buying a house or an equity portfolio. 

Against such a “tsunami”, and given the sheer weight of money, one would expect repercussions.  

Even without the blockchain phenomenon, there were bound to be the kind of upheavals which could lead to a crash in the markets. Bitcoin and cohorts could very well be trigger that sends us over the edge.