Breakingviews

Argentina’s Macri puts money where his mouth is

February 8, 2016

The president offered holdout creditors a 25 pct discount on $9 bln of defaulted debt. Two agreed. Hedge fund Elliott is holding out; Argentina’s Congress and a U.S. judge must OK any deal. But a functional economy and access to global markets may finally be in reach.

from Viewsroom:

Bookstores back, Redstone out, Zika lurks

February 8, 2016

Internet-retailer Amazon embraces bricks and mortar, while the soap opera around Viacom's aged founder continues. Plus, panic over the dangerous virus is Brazil's Achilles heel.

Credit Suisse chips away at bonus deferral fetish

February 8, 2016

The Swiss bank is cutting the level of annual bonuses it defers. After the 2008 crisis, regulators delayed variable compensation to improve accountability, leaving lenders with higher fixed costs and grumpy staff. Trouble is, ditching deferrals entirely doesn’t look practical.

Activist + private equity = no M&A for Symantec

February 5, 2016

The internet security group netted $5.3 bln from selling Veritas. Pressured by Elliott, it’s now borrowing $500 mln from Silver Lake and returning all the cash to investors rather than keeping a war chest. Symantec’s questionable dealmaking record makes the straitjacket merited.

Spain at risk of a lost year

February 5, 2016

The country’s political parties still haven’t formed a government seven weeks after an inconclusive election. In the short term, it’s unlikely to have a big impact on the economy. But a prolonged stalemate could hurt confidence and sap momentum, as well as deter corporate deals.

China’s record waste deal is far from rubbish

February 5, 2016

State-backed Beijing Enterprises is buying Germany’s Energy from Waste for $1.6 bln. Unlike some of China’s splashier foreign deals, this looks decently priced and makes obvious strategic sense. China badly needs more clean-technology expertise. Expect more trashy buys.

Cox: Bloomberg’s White House hurdle is Wall Street

February 4, 2016

The media mogul mayor may yet try to be U.S. president. Hands down he’d be the richest contender ever. It would take extreme candidates Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz as nominees for Michael Bloomberg to run. The bigger issue is that he’d have his deep ties to finance to explain.

Credit Suisse is making a meal of its turnaround

February 4, 2016

The Swiss bank would have made a fourth-quarter net loss even without 6 bln Swiss francs of one-off and restructuring costs. Its Asian bit alone grew revenue, yet boss Tidjane Thiam is wary over China’s future. Pre-tax profit targets look ambitious: pay cuts can only do so much.

ChemChina can reap rewards of new stance on GMOs

February 4, 2016

Buying Syngenta will thaw China’s hostility towards genetically modified organisms. Nationalist fears about food safety will ring hollow once the seeds are in Chinese hands. The buyer will be able to push into a huge new market – but so, in time, will rivals like Monsanto.

CBS board changes herald Viacom game of thrones

February 4, 2016

Sumner Redstone is out as chairman of half his $40 bln empire, with the job going to the CEO. That swaps one kind of poor governance for another but at least Les Moonves has done well for shareholders. A double grip on power at Viacom may not come so easily to Philippe Dauman.