Abigail with attitude: Phone charger – Verizon flexes its muscles
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Abigail with attitude: Phone charger – Verizon flexes its muscles

It has been an oddly eerie summer. Everybody seems to have fled to the beach, leaving a few journalists to eke out the occasional interesting story.

Developed markets drifted, emerging markets crumpled and a new word was added to the financial lexicon: "tapering".

However, during the final week of August, we were awakened from somnolence by reports that president Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against his own citizens. Heightened tensions in the tinderbox Middle East and a looming US military strike against Syria make an uncomfortable start to September.

On a more positive note, we have recently had some blockbuster M&A deals, such as the $35 billion Omnicom/Publicis mega-merger and the muscular, $130 billion Vodafone/Verizon transaction. "It’s a big problem if you’re not involved in the Vodafone deal," a banker whispered. "This will have a huge impact on the league tables. But more important, you will miss out on all the ancillary trades, such as financing and hedging, which could be even more profitable than the high-profile M&A fees themselves."

The Verizon deal is the third-largest deal ever announced. JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are the global coordinators for the financing and the M&A advisers for Verizon (together with Guggenheim Securities and Paul J Taubman). Vodafone was advised by Goldman Sachs and UBS.

Kiosks are doing for star investment bankers what hedge funds did for star traders. A source insists Paul Taubman will be paid $10 million for his work on Verizon/Vodafone

Taubman, Morgan Stanley’s co-head of institutional securities, left the US firm last year after a shoot-out with Colm Kelleher, his co-president.

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