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from Breakingviews:

Tesco’s new chief should think the unthinkable

By Robert Cole

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

Tesco has a real chance at reinvention. Hiring Unilever lifer Dave Lewis to replace Phil Clarke as chief executive provides a golden opportunity for an outsider to apply radical thinking to solving the UK supermarket group’s mounting problems.

This is a monster of a company which is diverse in its geographical footprint and business activities. Two-thirds of its revenue comes from Britain, and it generates most of its income selling household basics such as beans and dishcloths. But Tesco has shops in South Korea, Thailand and the Czech Republic. Moreover, it has a bank and, with its iPad-like Hudl tablet, is a wannabe-technology play.

Diversification provides opportunity. Tesco has a near-30 percent market share of the UK grocery market. It would be hard to generate sustained long-term growth if it shrank back to its core. Under Lewis, however, Tesco has to prove it has the breadth and depth of management talent to pursue a diversified strategy.

from Breakingviews:

UK banks have much to fear from latest probe

By Chris Hughes

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

The latest competition review of UK banking should aim to be the last. An antitrust probe in 2000 led to limited price controls after concluding that British lenders made excess profit. There were two more big investigations after the financial crisis. Yet concerns about market inefficiencies persist. That suggests the Competition and Markets Authority should do something radical this time.

from Breakingviews:

London real estate at an inflection point

By George Hay

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

Most real estate valuers in London think property prices in the UK capital are about to fall. That prediction has been easy to make and easier to get wrong in the last five years. This time, the evidence that global investors’ favourite housing market has peaked is looking credible.

from Hugo Dixon:

UK prepares for possible EU failure

David Cameron looks to be preparing for the possibility that his plan to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the European Union will fail. The UK prime minister would then campaign for the country to quit the EU in a referendum he plans to hold by 2017. That seems the best way to interpret his appointment of a eurosceptic foreign minister and the nomination of a little-known former lobbyist as Britain’s European commissioner.

This is not to say that Cameron wants to take Britain out of the EU – which would be a historical mistake. It is rather that he apparently thinks quitting could be an acceptable Plan B that would keep him in his job and his Conservative party reasonably united.

from Hugo Dixon:

How to fight UK immigration fears

By Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon is Editor-at-Large, Reuters News. The opinions expressed are his own.

If the UK leaves the European Union, the main reason will probably be because people fear immigrants are overrunning the country. The best way of assuaging these concerns is to show how free movement of people within the EU benefits the economy and society overall, while acknowledging that some groups may be harmed and working hard to improve their lot.

from Breakingviews:

Imperial prepares $7 bln gamble

By Chris Hughes

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

Investors think Imperial Tobacco has much to gain from a possible $56 billion merger of U.S. peers Reynolds American and Lorillard. The combination would require a large disposal programme to assuage antitrust regulators, and these forced sales could present bargains for the UK cigarette maker. The snag is that Imperial is short of cash – and the assets available may not be that attractive.

from Hugo Dixon:

EU would also be harmed by Brexit

By Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon is Editor-at-Large, Reuters News. The opinions expressed are his own.

It is not just Britain which would be damaged if it quit the European Union. So would other members. Jean-Claude Juncker’s nomination as Commission president at last Friday’s summit increases the chance of Brexit - Britain’s exit from the EU. Leaders from all countries now need to work to limit the risk it happens.

from Breakingviews:

English soccer protectionism would be an own goal

By George Hay

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

England’s footballers can get better – but not by embracing protectionism. The national team’s failure to progress beyond the group stages of the 2014 World Cup should not have come as a surprise to English soccer’s ruling body, the Football Association: only last month, its chairman published a report advocating radical change. But the FA’s suggested solution could make things worse.

from John Lloyd:

If Prince Charles becomes King Charles, will his kingdom leave him?

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla arrive for the second day of the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot, southern England

Could Prince Charles finally get his crown? And if he does, could it mean the end of the United Kingdom?

Abdication in favor of the younger generation seems to be something of a trend in Europe -- if two cases can be considered a trend. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated last year so that her son, Willem-Alexander, could bring some youth and vitality to the largely ceremonial role.

from Breakingviews:

Can sterling hit $2? Only with a perfect storm

By Swaha Pattanaik

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

Sterling has touched $1.70 and is on the brink of bursting ranges which have confined it for five years. Could a resurgent pound return to pre-crisis levels of $2?

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