Some Time to Be Valeant

The disease, not  the cure In our last post, we talked about the tangle Valeant got into with its banks over financial reporting delays. But the company’s problems didn’t end with the banks, and the banks weren’t the only creditors affected. On April 12, Centerbridge...

No Time to Be Valeant

Valeant in trouble Valeant Pharmaceuticals has been a bit of a nightmare for customers, shareholders, and debt holders lately. Its strategy of acquiring established drugs, paying with debt, and doubling prices to cover the costs has provoked a furious response from...

Oilmageddon

Citigroup analysts are calling the effect of falling oil prices on global financial markets “oilmegaddon.” We think the term works well to describe looming cash flow, dividend, and credit problems at major oil companies too. After peaking at $60.07 in June of 2015,...

Unitranche Loans

A unitranche loan, as the name implies, is one tranche of debt that can replace the traditional two tiered (i.e. first-lien/second-lien, senior/subordinated or secured/unsecured) debt structure for highly leveraged companies. For those unfamiliar with this...

Unreal GDP

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable,” John Kenneth Galbraith. A recent article in The Economist talks about the difficulties even the world’s best economists have forecasting economic growth. Approaches based on theory or...

Why, Toshiba, Why?

Toshiba Corporation has been caught cooking the books, overstating pre-tax profits by ¥1.5 billion over the last seven years. The scandal began with an inquiry by Japan’s market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, in February. Toshiba...

Dave Lewis Has a Problem with Booze

Dave Lewis has been Tesco’s CEO since September 2014. As we said in an earlier post, his challenge is to counter the growing threat from discounters in the UK like Aldi and Lidl by holding on to a core set of customers who prefer Tesco’s variety and convenience over...

Tesco’s Not Even Close

Tesco just agreed to sell its South Korean operations for £4 billion, taking a loss of about £150 million on the sale. The deal will reduce borrowings by £4.2 billion over the next 18 months. That’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. Tesco may also...

Takata May Get Blown Away

Takata Corporation is a Japanese maker of airbags and other automotive safety devices that has had a bad accident. It is recalling 53 million cars to replace defective airbag inflators that have caused six deaths and over 100 injuries around the world. The cost will...

Terrifying Tesco

A few days ago Tesco announced its worst full-year loss ever and one that ranks among the biggest in the history of British business — £6.4 billion. The company took a cart load of special charges to account for three years of declining sales, profits, and cash flows...

Breaking Tesco Out of the Box

Credit risk at Tesco Tesco disclosed details of its turnaround plan on January 8. The company was clear about its business problem — loss of share and profitability in the UK. And it was specific about the steps it is taking to tackle that problem — price cuts, store...

Tesco’s in the Wrong Box

On January 8 Tesco announced more details of its plan to improve its competitive position in the UK, revive its profitability, and bolster its finances. It’s going to cut prices on popular brands, trim £250 million in operating costs, limit capital spending, stop the...

In the Air But Grounded

Last December 28 AirAsia Flight 8501 left Surabaya in Indonesia bound for Singapore with 162 passengers and crew on board. An hour from takeoff the plane disappeared from radar, and five days later searchers found the wreck in the Java Sea. There were no survivors....

Testing Tesco

Tesco, Britain’s largest grocer, has been having a hard time lately. Last September it had to admit to overstating its net profits by £250 million. Then in October it announced a 4.4% drop in mid-year sales, a 91.9% drop in net profit, and an increase in the profit...

Private Equity Likes Strong Brand Names

Private Equity Funds often target companies with strong brand names in mature industries.  These companies often have strong, stable cash flows, which can be used to repay the acquisition debt.  Two transactions, both announced in February 2013, demonstrate this...

Men’s Wearhouse Plays Defense

On September 18, 2013 men’s clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank (ticker JOSB) made a $2.3 billion unsolicited offer to acquire larger rival Men’s Wearhouse (ticker MW). JOSB was seeking to take advantage of MW during a vulnerable time for the company. The MW Board of...

Kodak’s Dilemma

In our previous post, we talked about how Kodak fell to competition from digital photography and promised to explain why in our next. This post is about why Kodak failed. It’s because of what we call “the incumbent’s dilemma,” which this...

The Rise and Fall of Kodak

Kodak dominated mass-market consumer photography for over a century. But it failed to meet the challenge from digital photography and went bankrupt a year ago. How could a company as strong as Kodak fail so badly? This post explains what happened to Kodak. In our next...

A Swing Line for Swingline

In November 2011, ACCO Brands, a leading manufacturer of office products, and MeadWestvaco Corporation, a leader in packaging, agreed to merge MeadWestvaco’s Consumer & Office Products business into ACCO Brands in a transaction valued at approximately $860...

What’s That Burning at Tesla?

We blogged about Tesla just over a year ago, looking at what we called the company’s “liquidity burn.” We thought they only had about a year’s worth of liquidity left. Since then, burning through liquidity hasn’t been Tesla’s biggest problem. Instead, Tesla’s...