Breakingviews

Bayer’s Monsanto bid yields poor financial harvest

May 27, 2016

The German chemicals group’s rejected $62 bln offer for the seed maker already appeared to violate one of its key principles: stick to projects whose returns beat the cost of capital. Upping the price to win over Monsanto would take heroic sales-growth assumptions to stack up.

Review: Craft-beer memoir goes down easy

May 27, 2016

Jim Koch’s tale of brewing Samuel Adams is refreshingly candid about battles with Budweiser, a controversial IPO and other troubles. Unlike many stale business books, “Quench Your Own Thirst” reads like a pub chat. Only Koch’s pride in bad governance leaves a bitter aftertaste.

from Viewsroom:

Viewsroom: Apple, Facebook and Uncle Sam should just say “no”

May 27, 2016

The iPhone maker's brush with a bid for Time Warner suggests it's tempted by bad ideas, while Peter Thiel's backing of the Hulk Hogan suit against Gawker clouds his role as a Facebook director. Plus: Nixing a Lockheed-Boeing rocket contract in favor of SpaceX is a no-brainer.

Qatar’s debt bonanza stores up problems for future

May 27, 2016

Too much of a good thing could be bad for the Gulf state. It has just raised a whopping $9 billion in the bond market thanks to investors’ hunger for yield. Loading up on debt will help Qatar cope with lower energy prices, but just dodges its biggest problem: lavish spending.

Time for Lenovo to get a grip in mobile

May 27, 2016

The tech giant is a trailblazer for Chinese firms going global by doing deals overseas and adopting Western governance. The ill-judged takeover of Motorola’s old mobile business is testing that reputation. Absent a quick turnaround, Lenovo’s credibility will take a real dent.

Spotify’s next investors may face the music

May 26, 2016

The streaming service increased revenue by 80 pct last year to $2.1 bln. More than 80 cents of each dollar pay for songs, however. Even assuming generous growth and operating leverage, Spotify will need to do still more to merit a higher valuation than its latest of $8.5 bln.

Apple may find it harder saying “no” to bad ideas

May 26, 2016

An executive at the tech giant reportedly proposed a bid for Time Warner. That seems contrary to founder Steve Jobs’ recipe for success: reject “1,000 ideas” and focus only on the few good ones. But an aging iPhone, a tepid stock price and a cash pile risk making the mediocre tempting.

Debenhams plucks new CEO from arms of its nemesis

May 26, 2016

Amazon is the worst thing that could happen to stodgy old department stores. Yet that’s where Britain’s Debenhams found new boss Sergio Bucher. That makes it one of a handful of UK high-street names headed up by a digital ace. The hire sounds odd, but could be inspired.

U.S. probe forces Alibaba in the right direction

May 26, 2016

The Chinese e-commerce giant’s accounting is under investigation. Depending on the outcome, Alibaba may have to consolidate its loss-making logistics business. If the scrutiny helps shed light on some of the group’s many blind spots, investors will be better off.

Facebook has new free-speech problem: Peter Thiel

By Rob Cox
May 25, 2016

The venture capitalist has been revealed to be a secret backer of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker. That calls into question his media neutrality just as the social network is under fire for bias. As a director, Thiel’s First Amendment position is at odds with Facebook’s.