May 27, 2014 15:48 UTC

Failed bid would leave Astra under pressure

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

The likely failure of U.S. drugmaker Pfizer’s $119 billion bid for AstraZeneca, which was due to lapse on May 26, would leave the frustrated buyer no worse off. But the target has much to prove. Some of its shareholders welcomed a possible takeover – and could again.

May 24, 2014 12:34 UTC

Hacked eBay exposes itself to another attack

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By Richard Beales

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

EBay just exposed itself to another attack. Carl Icahn buried the hatchet with the online auctioneer’s board before it came out that records of 145 million customers got hacked. That means there’s an opening for another uppity investor to pressure eBay’s chief executive and directors.

May 21, 2014 16:13 UTC

Astra-Pfizer needs a fresh start later in the year

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

AstraZeneca should not reengage with Pfizer in the dying days of the takeover timetable. Talks now would either be fruitless or delay a proper restart later.

May 20, 2014 15:35 UTC

Rob Cox: ITT’s ghost hangs over Silicon Valley

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

The number of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley familiar with the work of Harold Geneen would hardly fill a 140-character tweet. After all, Geneen wasn’t a technologist, the inventor of a new computing language or the founder of a seminal startup. He was the original M&A machine – the man whose deal-making 50 years ago turned ITT into a multibillion-dollar conglomerate.

May 19, 2014 15:35 UTC

AT&T puts shareholders on hold for DirecTV

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

AT&T is putting its shareholders on hold to buy DirecTV. Its $67 billion acquisition of the satellite TV operator announced on Sunday brings with it an unexpectedly robust $1.6 billion of cost savings. Even so, these don’t quite cover the cost of the premium. In any case, AT&T says it will use the money to roll out rural broadband service. Customers and regulators are getting the first call.

May 15, 2014 19:37 UTC

Where should AstraZeneca shares be trading?

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

Investors are putting a lot of faith in Pfizer succeeding in its $100 billion-plus quest to acquire UK pharmaceuticals rival AstraZeneca. The right price for the target’s share price can be seen as the weighted average of two possible outcomes – a sale to Pfizer or a standalone future. A new Breakingviews calculator shows why the market seems to think a transaction will probably happen.

May 14, 2014 16:22 UTC

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.