Breakingviews

Edward Hadas: Nikkei joins demographic denial cult

By Edward Hadas
July 29, 2015

Nikkei is the latest Japanese company to look for growth outside the shrinking domestic market. Its Financial Times purchase may work out, but the approach is flawed. Few companies can profitably escape their demographic destiny. It may be better to accept steady decline.

Varoufakis gives Greece the gift of a scapegoat

July 29, 2015

The former finance chief’s alarming tales of trying to hack state computer systems might be just what the debt-stricken country needs. Ask China, which has long recognised the value of a strategic purge. Rogue elements breed discord, but once expelled, they can create more unity.

Twitter’s mealy-mouthed strategy is hard to follow

July 29, 2015

Interim boss Jack Dorsey said the micro-blogging site isn’t satisfied with just a 66 pct increase in Q2 revenue. His prescription for what ails Twitter, however, is cryptic. Companies that can’t express goals clearly, especially ones seeking a CEO, reduce chances for success.

The Economist’s elite owners seek elite print run

July 28, 2015

The Agnellis, the Rothschilds, et al may buy more as Pearson sells. A 6 pct dividend yield has appeal. If the valuation – recently 730 mln stg – and payout are to keep rising, however, the weekly has to succeed where other publications have failed and turn its top line around.

BP is making the best of a bad situation

July 28, 2015

Underlying profit at the UK oil major fell 64 percent. The lower oil price is the main culprit. Costs and capital expenditure are coming down, and operating cashflow remains resilient. But with the oil price falling again, BP has more challenges than opportunities.

Why it’s a bad idea for China to prop up its stock market

July 28, 2015

Regulators say they will keep supporting stocks. That unwise pledge is the high price of being a financial free rider. Like many governments, China’s authorities found the easy gains from a rising market irresistible, and have ended up its slaves.

Teva exits Mylan mess with $40.5 bln Allergan deal

July 27, 2015

The Israeli pharma firm has been locked in a bitter battle to take over the Dutch drugmaker. Now it has agreed to buy the generic business from Allergan. The swap makes sense. Friendly is far easier than hostile, and the Allergan businesses are just as attractive as Mylan.

Hugo Dixon: The optimist’s guide to Greece

By Hugo Dixon
July 27, 2015

There are so many ways things could go wrong in Greece that it’s easy to miss how things could also go right. The good scenario involves the ECB buying up Greek bonds, the lifting of capital controls and a deal on debt relief – all by year-end.

China worries start now for Visa and MasterCard

July 27, 2015

The People’s Republic will open its $7 trln bank card payment market to outsiders. Yet Visa and MasterCard, whose shares have risen since the decision, face an entrenched incumbent and online rivals like Alibaba. The hype from getting market access looks premature.

Breakdown: Watchdogs chew on health insurer deals

July 24, 2015

Anthem and Cigna are the latest big U.S. providers to serve up a blockbuster merger. But they and their peers need to satisfy a slew of regulators before chowing down. Here’s a look at the agencies and the transactions officials may be asked to swallow in a concentrated industry.