Feb 21, 2014 12:49 UTC

Italy needs fewer bad banks – not a big new one

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By Neil Unmack

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

Italian banks need to shed their bad debts to start lending again. The classic solution – selling poor credits to a national “bad bank” – would require Italian taxpayers to cough up at a time when state debt is 133 percent of GDP. Matteo Renzi, the likely prime minister, should try something different.

Feb 13, 2014 06:36 UTC

Privatisations a bright spot for gloomy Aussie M&A

By Una Galani

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

Privatisation is a bright spot in what looks to be an otherwise dreary year for Australian dealmakers. The country is set for a flurry of activity as cash-constrained local governments prepare to flog existing infrastructure assets in order to fund new projects and create jobs.

Feb 11, 2014 06:41 UTC

Alibaba’s $1.6 bln map deal fuels online land grab

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By Robyn Mak and John Foley 

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

Alibaba’s purchase of AutoNavi is a land-grab, in two senses. The Chinese e-commerce group has offered a premium price to buy out the 72 percent of the U.S.-listed mapping company it doesn’t already own, valuing the whole thing at $1.6 billion. There’s a compelling competitive reason for Alibaba to get deeper into online maps, but what’s hard to locate is the financial rationale.

Feb 6, 2014 04:23 UTC

Twitter a victim of its own measure for success

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By Robert Cyran

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

Twitter may be a victim of its own measure for success. The social network is growing and mining lots of user dollars, but not enough to justify a whopping value of 30 times sales. The lofty figure rests on a rise in the company’s highly touted home brew of “timeline views.” That number’s falling, suggesting tweeters are losing interest.

Feb 5, 2014 06:15 UTC

IPO flops will come back to haunt Li Ka-shing

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

Li Ka-shing’s stock market flops will come back to haunt the tycoon when it matters most. His latest spinoff, utility HK Electric, has become the third listing in a row from the businessman’s energy-to-telecoms empire to fizzle. Though markets are soft, Li’s reputation for selling at the top may make it harder to get a premium valuation if he decides to press ahead with an initial public offering (IPO) for his prized health and beauty retail business, A.S. Watson.

Jan 31, 2014 11:30 UTC

Emerging vacuum a harbinger of global downdraught

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By Ian Campbell

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

Emerging economy policymakers are wailing, understandably. But they can’t expect some magical coordination of global monetary policy. U.S. tightening is essential to curb global bubbles. Emerging markets are the first victims. They won’t be the last.

Jan 29, 2014 18:52 UTC

Sotheby’s revamps financial science – now for art

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By Richard Beales

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

Sotheby’s is revamping its financial science – now for the art. The auctioneer’s stock popped, at least initially, on Wednesday’s news of a $300 million special dividend and new criteria for investment. The plan addresses some aspects of the critique by activist investor Dan Loeb. But governance and broader strategy remain at issue.

Jan 29, 2014 06:43 UTC

Apple numbers show scale of China challenge

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Apple may be a dominant player in flogging smartphones in most of the world, but it’s still an also-ran in China. Disappointing global sales increase the pressure on the iPhone maker to gain ground in the People’s Republic. Though its deal with China Mobile should provide a boost, lower-cost rivals will limit its market share gains.

Jan 27, 2014 16:34 UTC
Edward Hadas

Markets could be their own worst enemy in fear binge

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By Edward Hadas

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

The optimistic investor consensus about 2014 is in danger of disappearing. Investors seem to be having second thoughts about the thesis that GDP growth would be reasonably strong almost everywhere and financial problems would not reach disruptive levels. Markets tumbled last week and have continued to weaken. If investors do not calm down soon, they could spark the crisis they fear most.

Jan 26, 2014 20:00 UTC

Apple’s stubbornness on full show before earnings

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By Robert Cyran

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

Apple’s stubbornness is on show before its quarterly earnings report, expected on Monday. The longevity of the Macintosh computer, 30 years old on Friday, is one sign of Apple’s persistence. Sure, the company occasionally bows to external demands – but rarely admits it. It will add to its product lineup and, as investor Carl Icahn is demanding, it will one day return more cash to shareholders. But outside pressure won’t get any credit.