Antony's Feed
Jun 19, 2012

Lazard’s new investor isn’t passive by nature

(Refiles to clarify reference to Evercore vote in third
paragraph.) (The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist.
The opinions expressed are his own.)

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, June 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Ken Jacobs finds
himself in a rare and enviable position. Lazard’s (LAZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) chief
executive now has Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners as his
second-largest shareholder. The activist investor reckons the $3
billion Wall Street advisory firm is undervalued and could be
worth double in a couple of years – a similar conclusion to one
Breakingviews reached in April (See: Lazard Groupon
[ID:nL2E8FR31F]). But P eltz isn’t resorting to his usual tactics
of demanding a special dividend, a breakup or a change in
management to get there. Instead, he says his 5.1 percent stake
is a bet on current managers and their plan.

Jun 8, 2012
via Breakingviews

Review: Low finance can get into trouble, too

By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

All financial institutions – not just those deemed too big to fail – need strong regulatory oversight. That is one lesson of Kirsten Grind’s new book about the demise of Washington Mutual, “The Lost Bank.” Grind, who covered the bank for Seattle’s Puget Sound Business Journal before moving to the Wall Street Journal, offers decent coverage of the bank’s demise in September 2008. But her incredibly well-researched account of how the bank got there is more captivating.

Jun 7, 2012
via Breakingviews

Nasdaq pours gasoline on Facebook fire

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By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Nasdaq boss Bob Greifeld needed to find a salve for brokers singed by his exchange’s botch-job on Facebook’s market debut. The technological meltdown on the day of the initial public offering last month may have cost clients as much as $200 million. Instead, Greifeld fanned the flames.

Jun 7, 2012

Breakingviews-Nasdaq pours gasoline on Facebook fire

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, June 7 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Nasdaq (NDAQ.O: Quote, Profile, Research)
boss Bob Greifeld needed to find a salve for brokers singed by
his exchange’s botch-job on Facebook’s (FB.O: Quote, Profile, Research) market debut. The
technological meltdown on the day of the initial public offering
last month may have cost clients as much as $200 million.
Instead, Greifeld fanned the flames.

Jun 4, 2012
via Breakingviews

Activist flushes out Nomura and investor weakness

Photo

By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Is there a better way to shame an investment bank than pointing to deficiencies in bathroom etiquette? That’s what an anonymous Nomura investor has done in one of 18 proposals he or she has got on the docket for a vote at the Japanese investment bank’s annual meeting of shareholders later this month. Installing Japanese-style toilets for employees to straddle to “strengthen their lower body” is just one of several peculiar proposals scattered in among more mainstream ones. There’s more to the unnamed investor’s submissions, though, than meets the eye.

May 21, 2012
via Breakingviews

Nasdaq howler can’t explain Facebook flop for long

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By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Nasdaq OMX is rightly coming in for a bashing after a systems howler on its U.S. exchange left Facebook’s stock trading in the dark for much of its public market debut on Friday. Chief Executive Bob Greifeld has already fessed up that the stock exchange was at fault. But the blunder has a limited shelf life as an explanation for Facebook’s IPO flop.

May 11, 2012
via Breakingviews

Jamie Dimon’s Ahab meets his Moby Dick

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

JPMorgan’s Ahab has met his Moby Dick. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon has toiled at length to build a bank strong enough to withstand the greatest of storms. The $2 billion hedging hit the bank disclosed late on Thursday will put JPMorgan to the test. Its capital buffers may be safe for now, but the ramifications are apt to be broader.

Apr 27, 2012
via Breakingviews

Review: Distilling Mulally’s managerial mojo

By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Just how did affable, aw-shucks mid-westerner Alan Mulally manage to turn around Ford Motor? There’s no doubt that he has been the driving force behind the transformation of an old wreck into one of the world’s most profitable auto companies. Witness the Motown manufacturer’s first-quarter results: $1.4 billion of net income globally while its North America auto business cranked out its best showing in over a decade, a pre-tax profit margin of 11.3 percent. Five years ago, such numbers would have been considered a pipe dream for any U.S. carmaker.

Apr 27, 2012
via Breakingviews

Lazard investors getting two for the price of one

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By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Lazard shareholders are getting two businesses for the price of one. The first-quarter results unveiled on Friday confirm what has become increasingly evident: asset management is its quiet powerhouse. Yet investors either give Lazard virtually no credit for it – or else negatively assess its high-profile advisory and M&A business. A Breakingviews sum-of-the-parts analysis suggests Lazard may be worth double its current $3.5 billion market value.

Apr 24, 2012

JPMorgan sends big gun after small bounty

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK, April 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – JPMorgan
(JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is sending its big gun after small bounty. The U.S.
mega-bank is deploying global investment banking boss Jeff Urwin
to run things from Hong Kong, and with the extra title of chief
executive for Asia Pacific. Deploying such a senior banker there
may help CEO Jamie Dimon gain ground on regional leaders UBS
(UBSN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research). But the payoff isn’t
entirely clear.

    • About Antony

      "Antony Currie has more than a decade of experience as a financial journalist, having worked with Euromoney since 1996, most recently as a U.S. editor. He has worked on assignments in the major financial centers of Europe and the U.S. and written stories on capital markets, global economies and the investment banking industry. He holds a bachelor's degree in German language and literature and a master's degree in politics and international relations from the University of Bristol."
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