Breakingviews

Scandal in Seoul masks bigger economic problems

November 3, 2016

A furore over a quirky confidante is buffeting South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The regularity of such crises attests to poor governance. But that's only part of a larger challenge: avoiding Japan-style stagnation despite heavy debts, weak exports and an ageing

Breakdown: Gauging the risks of a China crisis

October 31, 2016

Debt is rising rapidly, while the links between the official banking system and shadowy institutions are growing deeper and harder to fathom. The People’s Bank of China can probably ride to the rescue in the event of a shock. But a painful credit crunch will be harder to avoid.

GE joining M&A frenzy would be no shocker

By Rob Cox
October 28, 2016

The industrial giant is rebuffing reports it might buy $23 bln oil-services outfit Baker Hughes. But after selling some $200 bln of financial assets plus appliances and media, GE is in fighting shape for an offensive. If it can find Alstom-like targets, shareholders will gain.

Britain’s Brexit airbag can’t cushion everyone

October 28, 2016

Nissan’s UK plant will get state help if its competitiveness is harmed by Britain leaving the EU. Offsetting potential tariffs is unorthodox, but feasible and not especially expensive, even if rolled out to the whole industry. But picking winners also means picking losers.

Emperor Xi gets new clothes

October 28, 2016

China's Communist Party named President Xi Jinping as its "core" leader - a title previously granted to icons like Mao and Deng. But Xi needs more than titles to implement tough reforms; he needs provincial allies and a viable vision for economic policy. He may have neither.

Viewsroom: AT&T’s dog of a deal

October 27, 2016

CEO Randall Stephenson’s $85 bln offer for Time Warner lacks strategic rationale, has politicians of all stripes criticizing it and has destroyed shareholder value while denying owners a vote. All it lacks – so far – is an activist shareholder demanding it be scrapped.

AT&T deal may yet help more indie M&A shops

October 27, 2016

The year's biggest merger enlisted boutiques Perella Weinberg and Allen & Co alongside their bigger Wall Street rivals. If the $85 bln Time Warner acquisition emboldens other CEOs, the likes of Lazard and Moelis should benefit. They can use the help amid a patchy advice market.

Resilient UK growth adds to policymakers’ quandary

October 27, 2016

GDP rose by 0.5 pct in the third quarter as the economy barely broke its stride after Britain voted to leave the EU. The good news makes it harder for the government and Bank of England to justify a hefty stimulus. But if things do get worse their response may come too late.

Samsung heir’s new job comes with tough to-do list

October 27, 2016

Shareholders put Jay Y. Lee, son of the electronics group's patriarch, on the board. That makes his role official just as Samsung grapples with the Note 7 fallout and an activist investor's demands. Lee's accountability and signs of greater transparency come at the right time.

Comcast schools AT&T on media M&A

October 26, 2016

The cable giant now streams a third of its revenue from NBC Universal, a deal it concluded in early 2013. The regulatory and political climate was more accommodating and CEO Brian Roberts' strategy sound. AT&T's $85 bln bid for Time Warner, by contrast, is a dog's breakfast.