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from Breakingviews:

Glencore Rio takeover would be harder than Xstrata

By Kevin Allison

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

A Rio Tinto takeover would be harder than Glencore’s 2012 swoop on rival Xstrata. While there’s some logic to a tie-up with the world’s second-biggest iron ore producer, the Swiss miner-trader will be loath to pay a big premium, and the culture clash would be extreme. Rio is also in a better position than Xstrata to resist.

Ivan Glasenberg, Glencore’s hard-charging chief executive, is fond of saying he’ll buy anything for the right price. A sharp fall in the price of iron ore, down 40 percent so far this year - and nearly 60 percent from its 2011 peak - may have piqued his interest. Rio shares had slipped about 12 percent since the beginning of the year before it confirmed it had rejected a summertime overture from Glencore. Its suitor’s shares are up 9 percent over the same period, though Glencore’s $70 billion market value is still smaller than Rio’s $90 billion.

Diversifying into iron ore would run counter to fellow mining giant BHP Billiton’s recent decision to split in two. But it would give Glencore more raw materials to feed into its trading business, and access to Rio’s steel-clad balance sheet.

from Breakingviews:

Australia at sharp end of China outbound ambition

By Una Galani

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

The most surprising thing about a walk through central Sydney is China. Its influence is everywhere. Activists protest 1989’s Tiananmen Square massacre near the Sydney Opera House. A bilingual Mandarin school is under construction in the affluent Chatswood district. And the effect of Chinese money on the property market has become a dinner party favorite.

from Breakingviews:

BHP spin-off won’t appeal to commodity players

By Swaha Pattanaik

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

BHP Billiton plans to spin off unwanted parts of its business into a new company. Aluminium and nickel, whose prices are rising, are among assets which will be parked in the yet-to-be-named organisation. A potentially more focused and nimble mining company might sound like an ideal vehicle for investors who want to follow a rising market. Not so fast.

from Breakingviews:

Treasury Wine resistance withers under KKR assault

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Treasury Wine has decided that a grape is worth more in the bottle than on the vine. The maker of Lindeman’s and Penfolds agreed to open its vaults after the buyout group raised a provisional cash offer to A$3.38 billion ($3.15 billion). Though the bid could yet sour, Treasury’s spell as a listed company looks like it will soon be coming to an end.

from Breakingviews:

Woolworths pays too-steep ransom in Aussie battle

By Una Galani

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

Woolworths is paying too steep a ransom in its retail battle. The South African group is buying billionaire Solomon Lew’s stake in an Australian unit in an attempt to secure the billionaire’s support in its A$2.1 billion ($2 billion) takeover of upmarket department store chain David Jones. The side deal raises the effective takeover premium – and piles pressure on Woolworths to realise synergies.

from Breakingviews:

Australia’s mistimed austerity could boomerang

By Andy Mukherjee 

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

Australians are bracing themselves for what is being billed as the toughest government budget in 20 years. But untimely austerity could boomerang on the country’s shaky economy.

from Breakingviews:

Macquarie shows Wall St rivals a mirror image

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Attention, Wall Street investment banks. One of your rivals has just reported a 49 percent jump in full-year earnings, fuelled by unfashionable businesses like trading commodities and asset finance. It earns a double-digit return on equity with lower-than-average leverage. Oh, and its shares are up 50 percent in the past twelve months.

from MacroScope:

A glimmer of hope in Kiev

A glimmer of hope in Ukraine?

Let’s not count our chickens after 75 people were killed over the past two days but President Viktor Yanukovich’s people are saying an agreement on resolving the crisis has been reached at all-night talks involving the president, opposition leaders and three visiting European Union ministers.
A deal is due to be signed at 1000 GMT apparently although no details are as yet forthcoming. There has been no word from the EU ministers or the opposition so far.

Even if the violence subsides and some sort of political agreement is reached (a huge if), there is potential financial chaos to deal with despite Russia’s only partially delivered pledge of $15 billion to bail its neighbour out.

from Photographers' Blog:

From the White House to the Mad House

Bali, Indonesia

By Jason Reed

Just a couple of months ago I was swirling in a perpetual bubble, a privileged circle of photographers whose job it is to photograph one man – the President of the United States.

I did it for ten years and mostly enjoyed every minute. Over that period of time there comes a predictable familiarity to the role, in which you can pre-write all your captions hours and sometimes days in advance and plan your coverage down to the last detail. It is a safe and cosy existence. Due to the nature of the subject, it needs to be.

from Breakingviews:

Privatisations a bright spot for gloomy Aussie M&A

By Una Galani

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

Privatisation is a bright spot in what looks to be an otherwise dreary year for Australian dealmakers. The country is set for a flurry of activity as cash-constrained local governments prepare to flog existing infrastructure assets in order to fund new projects and create jobs.

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