Category Archives: Opportunities

Bayer vs. Monsanto: Who is the “patsy” at the Poker table ?

One of the highest profile merger cases at the moment is the Bayer / Monsanto case.

A quick recap:

In may 2016, Bayer made a proposal to buy Monsanto. The first offer was 122 USD per share which was rejected. Bayer increased the offer 2 times, first to 125 USD and currently to 127,5 USD.

The big question is: Why is Monsanto only trading at 107 USD (at the time of writing)? Compared for instance to the initial ChemChina/Syngenta deal spread, the Bayer case looks a lot more solid:

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Uniper/E.On Spin-off: Take one ugly duck and transform it into ….. 2 really ugly ducks ?


Monday, Sep 12th will be the first trading day for Uniper, the E.On spin-off. E.On shareholders will get one Uniper share for each 10 E.On shares they are holding.

Just to recap: Uniper will contain all the (unwanted) power generation assets of E.on, so all the “fossil fuel” power plants, the Russian assets and the Swedish nuclear plants plus some other stuff. The German Nuclear assets (and the corresponding liabilities) will remain at E.on due to the reasons I mentioned in the last post.

Uniper is clearly an ugly Duck, maybe the “most ugliest spin-off” I have seen since I started the blog. If we look into the most recent investor presentation, it is clear that you have a problem when the 3 listed growth projects are a German Hard Coal Power plant, q Russian power plant closed due to an accident which will reopen in 2018 and some strange dealings around the North Stream gas pipeline (page 9.). It doesn’t help either that Uniper had to take a 3,8 bn EUR pre tax write down in the first 6 months of 2016.That makes the duck still uglier.

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Short cuts: Installux, Kuka, Aixtron


Installux is surprisingly one of my best performing stocks this year, including dividends the stock is more than 30% and is at an all time high.


I did not fully understand why until I read the 6 month report.

Sales are up ~7% yoy, 6M earnings per share are 17,16 EUR vs. 14,37 EUR, an increase of almost 20%. Profit improvements happened across most of their sectors, so it doesn’t look like single special effects or so. Despite the recent run-up, the stock remains exceptionally cheap.

Kuka & MDAX exit

For those who did follow my comments on the original Kuka post, they might have noticed that I sold the stocks 2 days ago and bought them back yesterday slightly cheaper.

The reason was that in the meantime, the tendered shares were kicked out of the MDAX, the popular German MID Cap index.

As I was not sure how the shares would react I decided to manage the risk by staying out.

At the end of the day not much happened:

mdax kuka

Nevertheless I was able to cheapen my purchase price from ~107,5 to 106 EUR. As the deal now is more attractive, I invested a total of 4% of the portfolio.


Aixtron – another special situation (with a Chinese buyer)

Aixtron, a former TECDAX star has fallen on hard times. However a few weeks ago, a Chinese buyer showed up and finally made an offer for the company at 6 EUR per share.

With a share price at currently 5,53 EUR, the discount is similar to Kuka at around 8,5%.

The situation differs slightly from Kuka:

  • the buyer is a financial buyer, not a strategic one (more opportunistic ?)
  • The purchase price is “optically” not as rich as the one for Kuka (below book)
  • they require at least 60% acceptance as closing condition (vs. 30% for Kuka)
  • within the offer they have a “put” if the index (DAX or TEcDax) goes down more than 30%

On the plus side, there is little risk that anyone complains about the deal as Aixtron was not doing well anyway and they are not deemed “strategically important”. The time horizon here should be shorter than for the Kuka deal.

The offer runs until October 7th. So far, the acceptance is low, as of today, only 1,64% of the shares have been tendered.

I think the risk is slightly higher than in the Kuka case as they might not reach their threshold, on the other hand there might be a chance for a better offer.

Although the situation is less clear for me as in the Kuka case, I start here with a 1% position at 5,53 EUR and will monitor it closely.




Short cuts: Kuka, Swatch & Silver Chef


This is something that ran over the ticker today with regard to the Kuka case:

CFIUS Likely to Challenge Midea-Kuka Deal, Height Says

By Kasia Klimasinska

(Bloomberg) — CFIUS will likely challenge this deal “because Kuka has a direct relationship as a primary robotics supplier to Northrop Grumman,” Height analyst Nils Tracy says.

  • “At a minimum, we expect the transaction will face an extended CFIUS review timeline and a number of divestures”

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Old Mutual Plc (ISIN GB00B77J0862): Buy one, get four ?

In the blog I looked in the past at a couple of “sum of parts” situations (Alstom, Viel, CIR SpA but I never invested in one. Why ? Because if nothing happens, a perceived discount can remain for a long time. So for a sum-of-part investment, a “catalyst” has to be on the horizon.

Old Mutual

As many other Emerging Market exposed financial companies, Old Mutual did not create a lot of shareholder value over the last couple of years as the chart clearly shows, although they performed better than the overall index:


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