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from Breakingviews:

Vivendi boosts shareholder credentials in GVT sale

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo and Neil Unmack

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. 

Vincent Bolloré, Vivendi’s chairman, is doing right by his shareholders. The French media group says it has entered exclusive talks with Telefonica on the Spanish group’s 7.5 billion euro bid for its Brazilian business GVT. The French conglomerate spurned a lower bid from Telecom Italia. It might have squeezed a bit more from Telefonica, but has chosen the surest exit. That leaves rival bidder TI facing an uncertain future.

Vivendi says the Spanish bid is in the best interest of its shareholders. The offer is higher, with 3 billion euros more in cash and a lower execution risk than the Italian one, which was mostly in shares and required a shareholder vote. To complicate matters further, Telecom Italia’s Brazilian unit is also in play – Oi, Brazil’s biggest fixed-line company, says it is considering buying TI’s stake. Both offers included potential deals to distribute Vivendi content, which gave Telefonica a significant advantage on account of its larger, global footprint.

There were fears that Bolloré could have been tempted by a larger stake in TI, which would have somehow reversed the group’s strategy of shedding its telecom assets to focus on media and content. The Telefonica offer is still a bit muddled in that respect: it includes a stake in Telefonica Brasil, a third of which Vivendi can exchange for Telecom Italia shares - Telefonica has been a longstanding shareholder of its Italian rival. Still, at nearly 11 times this year’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Vivendi is getting a good price.

from Breakingviews:

Telefonica may have to inch higher for GVT

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Telefonica is showing how much it wants to buy GVT. The Spanish telecoms group has given Vivendi a 24-hour deadline to accept a new 7.45 billion euro ($9.8 billion) offer for the French conglomerate’s Brazilian subsidiary. A competing bid from Telecom Italia is 450 million euros lower, has less cash and is more conditional. Still, Vivendi could yet wring more out of this auction.

from Breakingviews:

Tragedy may reshape Brazil economy, not just vote

By Martin Hutchinson and Richard Beales

The authors are Breakingviews columnists. All opinions expressed are their own. 

Add Marina Silva to the challenges facing Dilma Rousseff. Brazil’s president faces a new opposition candidate in October’s election after Eduardo Campos’ death in a plane crash, and Silva looks a far bigger threat. If she ousts Rousseff, which polls show is possible, Brazil could gain economically from less state meddling.

from Breakingviews:

Buffett and tax outrage both diversions in BK deal

By Robert Cyran

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

Warren Buffett’s name is giving Burger King’s deal to buy Tim Hortons, now worth some $11 billion, a public relations boost. But some commentators on Twitter are calling the Berkshire Hathaway boss a hypocrite and branding him unpatriotic for supporting a company moving from the United States tax jurisdiction to Canada. Both sentiments are diversions.

from Breakingviews:

Why can Burger King, but not Wendy’s, own Hortons?

By Rob Cox

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

Why can Burger King, but not Wendy’s, own Tim Hortons? Burger King used to argue that it was exceptional for the flame-broiling of its burgers. With its $11 billion purchase of the Canadian doughnut-chain, its shareholders seem to believe it is special in some other ways.

from MacroScope:

Brazil’s economy: not as bad as it looked?

Brazil's President Rousseff looks on during a news conference to present the balance of the 2014 World Cup in Brasilia

Brazil's economy may have grown by 3 percent in 2012, three times as much as originally reported, according to an ongoing review of GDP data that could solve one of the biggest economic puzzles since the global financial crisis.

If accurate, estimates from local consultancy LCA would help explain why unemployment remained so low and consumer prices failed to ease when Latin America's economy looked so weak.

from Breakingviews:

Portugal Telecom pays the price for weak controls

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo and Christopher Swann

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The show will go on. Portugal Telecom and Brazil’s Oi are forging ahead with their planned merger after an Espirito Santo group company failed to repay a $1.1 billion loan to PT. The Portuguese telco is paying the price for its weak controls over its own cash management. Its shareholders will now hold a smaller stake in the group it planned to form with Brazil’s Oi.

from Photographers' Blog:

On the Sidelines of the Brazil World Cup

Miami, United States

Russell Boyce

As national soccer teams and the photographers who have been covering them start to trickle home from the Brazil World Cup, it's time to revisit the "On the Sidelines" project.

This Reuters Pictures project was billed as a chance for photographers to share “their own quirky and creative view of the World Cup". I thought that I'd examine what has been achieved.

from Photographers' Blog:

The people’s game

Sao Paulo, Brazil

By Eddie Keogh

Former Liverpool F.C. manager Bill Shankly once said: "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."

I think that he may have learnt that in Brazil.

Brazil's soccer fans watch their team play against Chile during a 2014 World Cup round of 16 game, in a restaurant in Sao Paulo June 28, 2014. Brazil won the match. Picture taken June 28. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

I am covering the 2014 World Cup, and to capture the action, I usually sit by the side of the pitch.

from Photographers' Blog:

The soccer ball as protagonist

Brasilia, Brazil

By Ueslei Marcelino

Most Brazilians, rich or poor, are passionate about soccer. But that’s not to say that this love of the sport permanently unites the nation - recent protests over the World Cup have made that clear.

Brazilian society still suffers from class division and there is a wide gap between the wealthy and the less well-off. It seems to me that we Brazilians are not one people, but for a short while, whenever the national team plays, we can pretend we are.

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