May 2005

Cover story

Private equity takes the supersize option

Multi-billion dollar leveraged buyouts are back with a bang, spurred on by low funding costs in the loan market. But with high yield faltering, can private equity firms and their financiers stomach the risks, or could these deals be the distressed loans of tomorrow? Kathryn Tully reports.

Corporate finance

M&A's new dealmakers set to take the stand

As US takeover activity booms again, corporate executives and their advisers are spending as much time weighing the legal implications of their decisions as the strategic benefits of bids. Welcome to M&A post Enron and Sarbanes-Oxley. Ted Kim reports.

Investment banking

Isolated Purcell faces undignified exit

The spat between Morgan Stanley's chief executive and former senior managers benefits no one. It is time for Purcell and the grumpy old men to do what shareholders really want – walk away. But has the row left a leadership vacuum at the top of the firm? Antony Currie reports.

Fund management

The new barbarians?

A flurry of big private-equity bids by hedge funds has sparked a turf war between two of the hottest growth sectors in recent years. Although some private-equity players reckon the threat to their business has been overstated and that hedge funds are ill equipped to handle private-equity deals, others are taking drastic steps to see off the competition. Joanna Hickey reports.

Hedge funds size up to Japanese demand

Japan's institutions are increasingly investing in hedge funds. But getting a fund off the ground in Japan is a tough task – institutions prefer large funds, but with few individual Japanese willing to invest it's hard to boost size. Helen Avery reports.

Debt markets

Oldest GSE takes the spotlight

Debt issuance from the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks could soon outstrip that from the better-known US housing agencies. At the FHLBanks' office of finance, they're taking it all in their stride. Mark Brown reports.

North America

San Francisco retells the growth story

US smaller-cap growth companies lost much of their investment banking support after the tech boom collapsed in 2000. But three firms with a solid research base and San Francisco roots are working hard to fill the gap. Antony Currie reports.

Equity markets

Issuers look to the pink herring solution

A recent example from Germany suggests that timing can be crucial when it comes to pricing an IPO – later works better apparently. Listening to investors offers a way of avoiding embarrassing repricings. Peter Koh reports.

Roundtable

Foreign Exchange

Middle East

Gulf banks press on with modernization

The creation of financial centres and the opening of banking markets in the Gulf to foreign players are broad themes across the region, which is riding a wave of liquidity. Bank consolidation should be the next consideration. John Hamilton reports.

Asia Pacific

Food wars down under

Fast thinking and fancy footwork from Metcash Trading, one of Australia's leading grocery businesses, have helped turn a vulnerable company into an acquisitive one. Chris Leahy reports.

Halfway there

The forced merger of three failed institutions to create Bank Mandiri, now Indonesia's largest bank, also spawned a new domestic securities house. Mandiri Sekuritas is half done in reaching its goals, reckons its management. Chris Leahy reports.

Pitfalls on Korea's path to liberalization

It is difficult to tell what is going on in South Korea at the best of times. The government speaks the language of reform and even harbours regional financial ambitions but its actions often appear to contradict its public statements. Recent events surrounding distillery Jinro's restructuring are no exception. Chris Leahy reports.

Wake-up time for the Philippines

Left for dead after the financial crisis, the Philippine stock market is barely a rounding error on foreign investor's portfolios. But despite the country's economic woes, the market has emerged recently from its long sleep. Whether the recovery is a long-term trend or a brief flutter on an otherwise flat line seems to be up to the government. Chris Leahy reports.

Editorial

Streetwise

Front End

Breakingviews

Market Monitor

Emerging markets

Against the tide

No room for optimism on the global economy

Forecasts of a soft landing for the global economy are off the mark – disinflation is at an end and interest rates are on the rise. For safe havens investors should look to gold and the euro

People

Financial Lawyer