May 9, 2014 18:29 UTC

Apple shows another symptom of mid-life crisis

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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

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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 9, 2014 06:29 UTC

Alibaba finance arm better out than in for IPO

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By John Foley

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

Alibaba’s secret weapon is its payment division. Yet Alipay isn’t part of the Chinese e-commerce company’s upcoming initial public offering. The company is “conceptually” thinking about reuniting them, according to people familiar with the situation. But the status quo, however strange, looks better.

May 8, 2014 20:27 UTC

Stanford’s snub to coal typical of Silicon Valley

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By Christopher Swann

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

Stanford’s snub to coal is typical of Silicon Valley. The black rock is an easy target for the university’s $18.7 billion endowment, which is bigger than the top five U.S. coal firms combined. But shouldn’t the principle behind it, reversing global warming, also apply to oil companies, including Stanford donor Chevron? Like Valley tech tycoons, the Palo Alto school seems to shun some evils only so far.

May 8, 2014 17:47 UTC

Yahoo’s Alibaba windfall tough to spend wisely

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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 7, 2014 06:11 UTC

Alibaba’s big reveal: high growth, odd governance

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By John Foley 

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

There are two things to know about Alibaba, which filed for an initial public offering in New York on May 6. First, China’s dominant e-commerce company is huge, and could be even bigger. Second, new investors will have little say in how it is run – the founders are keeping a firm grip.

May 6, 2014 14:06 UTC

Barclays shows why it needs to do a UBS

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By George Hay

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

Barclays has shown why it needs to “do a UBS”. Both the UK bank and its Swiss peer had a rotten time in their fixed-income trading operations in the first quarter, numbers released on May 6 show. The difference is that Barclays is only just understanding a problem that UBS attacked 18 months ago.

COMMENT

I feel there is little consistency in the way punters view Barclays,and everyone seems to rush to hasty conclusions about compensation and business lines.Firstly, there is little mention today post results of the fact that Barc seems increasingly balanced with commercial and retail revenues in positive territory.Second,Barclays has key competitive advantages in FI and technology,none of which are that easy to replicate, and in my opinion,worth preserving even at a short term cost, with economies of scale and crossproduct fertilisation being key to efficient management. On that basis, and with a somewhat improved cost base, Barclays might surprise the myriad of doomsday’s who say Barclays came late to restructuring.The fact is that you cannot walk away from your most profiled business (FICC) between two quarters, and also, I feel there is a failure to recognise that Barclays has always been very early to the party with respect to advancing its technology offering. I am in other words quite bullish

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May 1, 2014 12:00 UTC

M&A-capex inversion wrongfoots stock-pickers

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

Resurgent business investment was supposed to lift equity markets this year. But things are not turning out as expected. The bigger beneficiaries of spendthrift chief executives appear to be takeover targets rather than firms whose earnings reflect shifts in global capital expenditure. That calls for a different investment strategy.

COMMENT

May I suggest that you develop metrics for this interesting analysis and use them to create another stock screen option on this Reuters site.

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Apr 30, 2014 14:38 UTC

BNP is latest pawn in U.S. too-big-to-jail saga

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By Dominic Elliott

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

BNP Paribas is the latest pawn in the United States’ fight to indict. France’s largest listed bank warned on April 30 that a future fine for violating U.S. sanctions on pariah countries could be “far in excess” of its $1.1 billion in provisions. But things could get nastier still.

Apr 30, 2014 13:55 UTC

WH Group flop shows pitfalls of crowded IPOs

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By Una Galani

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

WH Group’s flop shows the pitfalls of overcrowded initial public offerings. The Chinese pork producer hired a record 29 banks but still failed to sell its $1.3 billion listing to investors. That undermines the standard wisdom that more advisers mean less risk for issuers. For banks, it’s a reminder that they can share embarrassment as well as sought-after league table credit.