Current Content Downloads: Getting Down To Business

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Remember I said I had a client who said they maybe wanted me to work as a local stringer, scouting debt and equity issuance, restructuring, changes of control, buybacks, and all those sorts of signals that companies might be for sale, or looking to go on a shopping spree?

Sure, I said. I am perfectly happy to spend my days scouring CVM disclosures and other official sources of corporate actions, the forward calendar of the competition regulator, the Official Diaries, the local business press (which mostly all cover the same exact stories: Pick a decent one and you have pretty much read them all, with only marginal exceptions). And what have you.

Now, this client thinks it might want me to actively pursue such leads rather than just digging them up. Produce “forward-looking deal intelligence.”

Reality-test market rumors.

Get acquisitive companies to point at their targets. Beard sovereign funds at the luggage carrel at the airport and ask them, “So, what are you going to spend all those yummy petrodollars on?”

Which sounds like a lot of fun, although I warned this client: I am not someone who brings a fat Rolodex to this beat. I would have to spend months handing out business cards to in order to build one.

And besides, the subscription newsletter Relatorio Reservado (Brazil) is already doing a pretty bang-up job of “forward-looking deal intelligence” here, I find. Today, for example, it reports:

Mal desembarcou no Gávea Investimentos, o Harvard Management Company já pensa em reduzir à metade sua parte na empresa de Armínio Fraga, em torno de 12%. A operação está ligada a um reposicionamento internacional do fundo.

Harvard Management Company has scarcely landed at Gavea Investments, the investment management firm of former central bank president Arminio Fraga, and is already thinking of reducing its 12% stake by half. The adjustment is a product of the fund’s international repositioning.

Didn’t I read in the W$J that the vast Harvard endownment — $35 billion, is it? — is now under new management?

Another lead today: IBM do Brasil reportedly has the green light to investment maybe R$400 million on buying software shops.

I should call them, ask them if that really is the case — the report is not sourced — and see if they want to say what they are going to the supermarket to stock their pantry with.

A new experience for me was paying for the subscription by means of boleto bancario (below, for a subscription to the Gazeta Mercantil, which I have a devil of a time finding on local newsstands these days. You have to go downtown to find a newsie who carries it.)

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I tracked some 85 leads this week, and almost none of them overlapped the leads RR has.

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From the leads file. Index your hard disk with Google Desktop and you got yourself a makeshift, DIY leads database, right?

Moral of the story: Relatorio Reservado is doing the kind of work I need to be able to do when I grow up.

Who publishes this thing?

Can I buy them a chopp and pester them for information on how they do that candomble-voodoo that they seem to do so well?

First principal of learning to do a good job: Find someone who already does it really well and watch how they do it. Maybe even ask them if they want to make an arrangement to share expertise.

As for my efforts to pitch myself for this job — between root canals, the wife getting a biopsy, my standing in line a lot on business related to my permanent residency, and our doing a deal to sell an office suite we own — I did get a prominent local deal lawyer to agree to get on the phone with me next week and maybe talk about a new engagement: A BRIC steelmaker who has hired a deal lawyer to look at the prospects in the B in BRIC (after recently moving into a neighboring non-BRIC B country.) File under “pending entries.”

Deal-lawyer and and investment-banker engagement stories are something to keep an eye on. The legal-eagle trade publications cover these sorts of “musical chairs” stories …

I could wind up putting in all this effort — I rigged up a new wiki on localhost to organize my list-building and contact information — for nothing, though.

We have not exactly sunk to the level of those TNT-transporting truck drivers in Le Salaire de la Peur yet. But it would be nice to have something to do every day for a regular paycheck.

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