The funny thing about all the deals going on at the moment is that everyone is saying they do not prove that animal spirits are returning to markets. There is supposedly a specific reason for each and no trends to discern. Then along comes yet another deal. There was news on OfficeMax and Office Depot, the Fraser & Neave acquisition finally closed, and rumours swirled around Kabel Deutschland.
All this excitement is obviously going to boardroom heads. This week also saw another mining scalp hit the floor, this time belonging to Marius Kloppers at BHP Billiton. Many see his legacy as one of the deals that did not happen. Why is that such a bad thing, anyway? Besides, during his half decade in charge, BHP massively outperformed rivals Rio Tinto and Anglo American. Meanwhile Novartis’s board also lost its head, bowing to populist pressure to not pay outgoing boss Daniel Vasella a $78m golden handcuff.
But this buoyant mood in deal-land did not register in earningsville this week. Some numbers were better than expected, such as at Qantas and Lafarge, others were worse, as seen at Danone, Walmart, Toll Brothers and Carlsberg. With so little direction in earnings, a company may as well do a deal or fire its chief executive. At least that may get things moving again.
Stuart Kirk, Lex editor
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