Mar 13, 2014 15:59 UTC

Alibaba film deal adds to China internet frenzy

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By Robyn Mak
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Alibaba’s latest deal shows the extent of investors’ frenzy for China’s internet. The e-commerce giant announced on March 11 it had agreed to buy 60 percent of Hong-Kong listed ChinaVision for $804 million. The film group’s market value promptly soared to almost $5 billion. Star-struck investors are too easily excited.

Mar 10, 2014 06:52 UTC

China internet duo join forces against common foe

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By Peter Thal Larsen and Robyn Mak 

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Two of China’s internet companies are joining forces against their common foe: Alibaba. Tencent is injecting its also-ran e-commerce units and $215 million in cash into JD.com for a 15 percent pre-IPO stake in the online retailer. More importantly, the two will collaborate on mobile commerce. Both have the same objective: erode Alibaba’s dominant market share.

Mar 4, 2014 18:03 UTC

Tobacco deal may work if survives regulatory fire

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

Tobacco giant Reynolds American may be mulling a bid for smaller rival Lorillard, apparently to investors’ pleasure.  Shares of the possible target, which specializes in trendy menthol cigarettes, leaped more than 9 percent after the Financial Times indicated that Lorillard might attract a more than $20 billion offer.

Feb 28, 2014 16:15 UTC

Blackstone bets Versace can go up a few sizes

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By Quentin Webb

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

Blackstone is betting Versace can go up a few sizes. The U.S. private equity firm has bought 20 percent of the Italian fashion house at a 1 billion-euro valuation. This is a wager that Versace’s lightweight business can grow to fit its extra-large brand.

Feb 24, 2014 17:18 UTC

Facebook stock is not so different from bitcoin

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By Rob Cox

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

With its extraordinary $19 billion swoop on WhatsApp last week, Facebook proved its stock is not so different from the crypto-currency of the moment, bitcoin. They can both be used for certain, specific purposes. Neither is backed by a government. Both depend on vast networks of individuals. And their worth reflects demand, which is based on murky fundamentals. The trick: monetize them while they still have value.

COMMENT

I was thinking a similar set of thoughts yesterday. not the devaluation but the true value of a Facebook in terms of influence and comparing it to a retailer like Walmart. You see people go to Walmart every day and are influenced in buying what is stacked near the door and presented by the vendors on the shelves. All of this presentation is a method which has ben calculated to make you buy more. Think of a model where a Facebook is the new influencer in a virtual retailer sense. They sell advertising and influence people to purchase various things through their social network circles. How is this different from a Walmart model? Yes it is virtual. FB can even enter a new country quite easily and if it does not work out it can exit. Walmart typically has to acquire a competitor in the new country as they need to get in with immediate scale and have bricks and mortar right away to get the good locations. So with this in mind….at 10 years old could Facebook be the new Walmart as they will be everywhere, the largest and the most influential very soon? Maybe the high valuations they are putting on FB shares are justified if you look at the potential. Or maybe I have just been influenced.

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Feb 21, 2014 20:58 UTC

Modern financial arts get special exhibition

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Modern financial arts have been given a special exhibition. Washington’s estimable Corcoran Gallery, with its de Koonings and Twomblys, is being carved up like a common conglomerate. Los Angeles played host to a hostile museum takeover bid and Detroit’s restructuring features the paintings and sculptures of the city’s art institute. A blank spreadsheet is proving just as able to inspire as a canvas.

Feb 21, 2014 20:49 UTC

Spain’s BBVA keeps banking’s tech enemies close

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Francisco Gonzalez, chairman of BBVA, recently said that banks needed to take on Amazon and Google or die. He aims to be one of the survivors. The 51 billion euro ($70 billion) Spanish bank has bought U.S.-based mobile banking technology startup Simple for $117 million. It may be a small deal, but it comes with potentially big implications for the industry.

Feb 20, 2014 20:53 UTC

How on earth can Facebook justify WhatsApp price?

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By Peter Thal Larsen and Rob Cox
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

 

For mere mortals who haven’t partaken in whatever Kool-Aid Mark Zuckerberg is serving at Facebook’s Hacker Way headquarters, is there any way to justify the $19 billion it is paying for WhatsApp?

COMMENT

How long before the mobile operators enter the space , in software terms to duplicate whatApp would cost nothing , like wise they could block its use. Why allow an app that is eating away at your revenue stream. Facebook had to buy it because it was destroying their own user base .

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Feb 19, 2014 19:26 UTC

Diamond dealers show how to make M&A sparkle

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

 

Leave it to a couple of diamond dealers to show how to make M&A sparkle. Jewelry retailer Signet’s stock shone brighter after it agreed to buy smaller rival Zale at a 41 percent premium for $1.4 billion. That’s what happens when the cost savings effectively cover the purchase price. It makes the tarnish on shareholder-unfriendly transactions involving Comcast and Jos. A. Bank all the more noticeable.

Feb 18, 2014 20:07 UTC

Actavis makes pharma deals look generic

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

 

Actavis makes pharmaceutical deals look generic. Its $25 billion acquisition of Forest Laboratories follows a familiar formula in the sector. Uppity investor? Check. Low-tax jurisdiction? Check. Buyer’s stock rises? Check. And over $8 billion of value created means financiers will keep busy with their own prescriptions for M&A success.