May 14, 2014 16:22 UTC

AT&T will struggle to justify $70 bln DirecTV bid

Photo

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

AT&T will struggle to justify buying DirecTV for an enterprise value of some $70 billion. Going headlong into the satellite television business requires some heroic assumptions to make the offer financially worthwhile. To cover its cost of capital, for example, AT&T probably would need to wring more than $2 billion of savings from its target. This deal gives off a whiff of desperation.

May 13, 2014 15:53 UTC

AT&T deal dialing emits a shaky signal

Photo

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

AT&T’s deal dialing is emitting a shaky signal. First, it wanted T-Mobile US for more domestic subscribers. After regulators nixed the idea and Verizon cleaned up its wireless joint venture, AT&T pursued Vodafone for European growth. Now, amid U.S. pay-TV consolidation, DirecTV or Dish beckons at home. The rationale is questionable and suggests the broader strategy is wayward.

May 13, 2014 14:03 UTC

Rob Cox: The worry now is a brewing M&A bubble

Photo

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

Stop worrying about the tech bubble – there may be an even bigger one inflating beyond the confines of Silicon Valley. The corporate urge to merge has gone into global hyper-drive this year. Deal activity has surged as investors egg companies on and bid up the shares of acquirers well beyond mathematical explication, or prudence. As new metrics from interested parties are trotted out to justify the irrational, it’s time to exercise caution.

May 13, 2014 13:32 UTC

LSE’s tilt at Russell is a long shot

Photo

By Robert Cole

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

Diversification might as well be Xavier Rolet’s middle name. The chief executive of the London Stock Exchange has bought into clearing, with the purchase of LCH.Clearnet. He was an unsuccessful suitor for the London Metal Exchange. He missed out on a merger with TMX, the Canadian exchange, and one chance to grow in North America. The newly-revealed ambition to take control of Russell, the U.S. index compiler and asset manager, represents another attempt to branch out.

May 9, 2014 18:29 UTC

Apple shows another symptom of mid-life crisis

Photo

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Apple is showing another symptom of a mid-life crisis. It hasn’t got a tattoo or hooked up with a Pilates instructor. But the iPhone inventor’s interest in headphone maker Beats Electronics suggests it feels the need to open its wallet in order to keep up with the cool kids.

May 9, 2014 18:22 UTC

Big Ad merger sorely misjudged its audience

Photo

By John Foley

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

Publicis Omnicom has gone the way of New Coke and Microsoft Zune – ideas that looked great on paper, but sorely misjudged their audiences. The merger of the two advertising agencies was called off after it became clear the deal couldn’t be completed in a reasonable time frame, the two said on May 9.

May 8, 2014 17:47 UTC

Yahoo’s Alibaba windfall tough to spend wisely

Photo

By Richard Beales

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

More than ever in her nearly two-year tenure, Marissa Mayer needs to find the exclamation point in Yahoo’s business. After the company sells something like half of its 22.6 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, the Yahoo chief executive could have $12 billion on hand. Spending it wisely will be tough.

May 8, 2014 06:10 UTC

Pfizer unlikely to avoid China anti-trust therapy

Photo

By Ethan Bilby

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

The chance to vet Pfizer’s $106 billion offer for rival drug-maker AstraZeneca looks too good to pass up for China’s competition watchdog. Pfizer should brace for some antitrust therapy, though getting Astra’s board on-side first may help.

May 7, 2014 13:53 UTC

Alstom chase is distraction from Siemens revamp

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Joe Kaeser has hammered out a plausible new strategy for Siemens. The new chief executive’s focus on internal reforms could make the unwieldy engineering giant less complex and more efficient. But Kaeser is simultaneously mulling a bid for the power assets of French rival Alstom – a big-bang acquisition that could foil “Vision 2020.”

May 6, 2014 21:37 UTC

Tax steroids justify Bayer’s $14 bln Merck deal

Photo

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

Bayer’s $14.2 billion acquisition of Merck’s consumer care business is less pricey than it looks. Non-prescription pharmaceuticals are among the most sought-after assets in global healthcare. Demand for “over the counter” drugs, driven by emerging markets, is growing at 4 percent to 5 percent a year. Revenue is unthreatened by patent cliffs and less vulnerable to regulatory interference. Strong OTC brands earn EBITDA margins of 30 percent and more.