When BSkyB announced back in late July that it would like to consolidate Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland into Sky Europe, Lex wondered who benefited most. The messy partnership between the three of them, via 21st Century Fox, would become a more coherent European co-habitation in a so-so deal for everyone concerned.

In particular, BSkyB would pay only slightly above the minimum required by German law for the Sky Deutschland shares held by Fox. But given that Fox, a major shareholder in BSkyB, was the seller of the controlling 57 per cent stake most of the money would stay in the family, so to speak. So if you’re family, no problem. Read more

Really, it is nothing new. People have been involved in the shmatter business – buying and selling clothes – for thousands of years. It has always been competitive, and still is.

So consider Asos, which has grown rapidly by overlaying new technology onto this ancient business. When the shares were priced at 100 times earnings (February this year) there was an expectation that this growth rate could last forever. Turns out it couldn’t. Here is what has happened to Asos’ revenue growth over the past three years. Read more

Microsoft has announced that it has bought Mojang, the company that makes Minecraft, for $2.5bn. Lex hates this deal, as we detailed in a note last week. The broad point is this: Microsoft left the Ballmer era and entered the Nadella era as a company badly in need of a strategic identity. Mr Nadella seemed to be establishing one when he suggested the Xbox was not core. Now comes his first big deal. It’s for a gaming company. Argh.

A few people have been in touch to disagree. They offer three arguments: Read more

Heineken has rejected an approach from SABMiller. Is this a cue to the one last big round of beer market consolidation which M&A bankers are (unsurprisingly) often rather keen to talk up? Who would be involved — and exactly where would shareholder value come from?  Read more

See you at 1pm (London time) on Monday, when Lex will be discussing brewer M&A in one of our new open-note formats on this blog. (It’s like Alphaville’s Markets Live.)

The trigger is Heineken’s rejection of an approach from SABMiller. We however are more interested in that one last big round of beer market consolidation which M&A bankers are (unsurprisingly) often rather keen to talk up. Who would be involved — and exactly where would shareholder value come from? Read more

It’s sad to see any business file for administration.

Still, with the fall of Phones4U, you could argue that the days of independent phone shops acting as middlemen between networks and customers had long been numbered (if there are going to be shops, the networks want to run them themselves). Any company which relies on four big suppliers is at risk in any case: this is what has ultimately sunk Phones4U, after Vodafone and EE at last pulled out.

Though did anyone tell high yield bond investors? Read more

We have had a few calls, emails and tweets this morning about the lack of Lex in the redesigned paper. We are touched by your concern at this difficult time… but all that has happened is that the column no longer appears on paper on the first day of the week.

Lex will be bigger, meaner and hungrier on the other five days. Read more

Apple Pay has put a certain type of Silicon Valley start-up under the spotlight: payments companies. The biggest of these is Square, valued at $6bn after a new round of funding Friday. Far from being cowed by Apple’s move into its turf, Square’s valuation has risen by a fifth in the last six months. In fact its valuation growth is accelerating:

 Read more

Or, why it isn’t surprising at all that RBS and Lloyds would move their respective holding companies to the UK, probably overnight, if Scotland voted to become independent. Despite the odd packaging of this as news by the UK press.

It’s the emergency liquidity (or ELA). Click chart to enlarge: Read more

The focus on marketing and product design (oversize iPhones! Celebrity endorsers!) often betrays the unsexy, operational conundrums of the consumer and retail industries.

Last week we brought you the story of the US firearms sector, which has suffered of late. As we described in our Lex note, the slackening end user demand obscures the trickier issues in the gun supply chain. Read more