Nov 1, 2013 07:01 UTC

Sony stumble gives Loeb headache and opportunity

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Sony may have given Dan Loeb a headache – and an opportunity. The Japanese group’s quarterly loss knocked almost 12 percent off its market value by midday on Nov. 1 and raised questions about the company’s revival. Poor results from Sony’s entertainment and electronics arms suggest there’s limited upside from the spinoff that activist investor Loeb proposed earlier this year. However, it may give him a chance to push for more radical restructuring.

Oct 31, 2013 21:01 UTC

PwC-Booz merger adds up to a major culture clash

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By Kevin Allison

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

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ proposed takeover of strategy firm Booz & Co would be the most prominent example yet of a Big Four auditor bulking up on consulting. But restrictions enacted after the massive Enron scandal of 2001 mean advisory-services staffers could end up brawling with accountants over clients. While mid-sized Booz may feel pressure to compete with rivals like Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey, the proposed deal with PwC risks a huge culture clash.

Oct 31, 2013 17:01 UTC

Even bankruptcy can’t subdue Batista’s swagger

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By Christopher Swann

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

Even bankruptcy can’t subdue Eike Batista’s bombast. As his flagship oil company OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes sought protection on Wednesday from creditors, the Brazilian tycoon was practically goading them. He just sold gas assets at a knockdown price to an electric utility he partly owns. Bondholders still have a better chance of recovering more money by injecting fresh cash. Pushing them too far, though, could lead to a painful liquidation for all.

Oct 31, 2013 05:53 UTC

China’s banks languish in valuation twilight zone

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By John Foley

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

What if investors valued China’s big lenders the same way they do global banks? By one measure, lenders like ICBC and Bank of China would be worth twice what they are today. Instead, the country’s banks languish in a valuation twilight zone. It’s a sign of the deep scepticism facing China’s financial sector.

Oct 30, 2013 20:28 UTC

Fund managers could learn from hometown Red Sox

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

Fund managers could learn from the hometown Red Sox. The team is a win away from being baseball’s champions. Its success hinges on the disposal of concentrated long-term bets in favor of liquidity, early-stage backing and steadier assets. Such diversification is a good reminder for the Boston-based investment industry, where the likes of Fidelity and Putnam are based, and beyond.

Oct 30, 2013 20:21 UTC

Chrysler needs $18 bln valuation to justify IPO

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By Antony Currie

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

Chrysler’s valuation needs to hit $18 billion to justify an initial public offering. That’s the point where the union trust fund that owns 41.5 percent of the Detroit automaker would reap more than it could get from controlling shareholder Fiat. But it’s also way more than either owner has ever considered to be a reasonable price.

Oct 29, 2013 16:36 UTC

Deutsche’s fixed-income pain could exceed rivals’

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Deutsche Bank’s third-quarter hit in fixed-income trading could presage a painful loss in market share. The German bank suffered a 48 percent fall in third-quarter debt sales and trading revenue – as bad as any peer. And things could get tougher still.

Oct 29, 2013 16:08 UTC

Apple’s simplicity complicated by status quo

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By Robert Cyran

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

Apple’s simple story is complicated by the status quo. Fourth-quarter results released on Oct. 28 contain plenty of encouraging elements. It’s just that each comes with an asterisk.

Oct 28, 2013 03:44 UTC

One idea Samsung could safely copy from Apple

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By Una Galani

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

Here’s one idea that Samsung could safely copy from Apple. As a proportion of its $221 billion market capitalization, the South Korean giant’s near $40 billion cash pile is almost as big as that of its U.S. arch rival. With reserves accumulating fast, it can afford to mimic Apple by giving more to investors.

Oct 24, 2013 08:14 UTC

China bank IPO shows rewards of financial alchemy

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By John Foley 

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

Financial innovation is paying off for Bank of Chongqing, a small Chinese lender preparing for a $2 billion stock market listing in Hong Kong. What sets the bank apart isn’t its enviable 32 percent return on equity, but its copious use of what might be China’s most baffling securities.