Immelt’s SIFI escape route is tough to follow

April 10, 2015

The $280 bln GE is offloading most of its finance unit and should be able to ditch the systemic tag imposed by watchdogs. That will free CEO Jeff Immelt’s remaining empire from onerous rules. Big U.S. banks might fancy similar liberty, but they are more tightly hemmed in.

Guest view: What’s holding technology M&A back?

April 9, 2015

Though deal-making is near boom-time highs, most of it’s not about making bold bets on the future, says Andreessen Horowitz’s managing partner. Activism plays a role. But as newly public tech firms that are more resistant to external pressure mature, the dynamic will shift.

Shell could win from bold $70 bln swoop on BG

April 8, 2015

The oil major is offering a fat 50 pct premium for its UK rival. But the share price was depressed and the synergies are attractive. The deal could prove a smart and opportunistic way to boost growth via deepwater assets and liquid natural gas – provided Shell keeps costs down.

FedEx bets $5 bln on Europe’s potential with TNT

April 7, 2015

The U.S. shipper’s cash bid for its Dutch rival comes two years after Brussels killed a takeover by rival UPS. The price is 20 times the weakened target’s 2016 earnings. That sounds high. But a strong dollar, cheap debt and sizeable synergies could help deliver decent returns.

Tencent’s discount to Facebook harder to justify

April 7, 2015

The Chinese social media giant generated about the same revenue as its U.S. counterpart last year and was more profitable, despite having fewer users. Yet it trades at a lower multiple of earnings. As the two business models converge, the valuation gap needs a rethink.

Request for IBM activism likely falls on deaf ears

April 6, 2015

Some big shareholders are begging for a Big Blue shake-up. They have reason to be dissatisfied – 11 quarters of falling revenue have sent the shares into a slump. Snag is IBM has already exhausted the typical activist playbook of tapping the balance sheet, buybacks and disposals.

NY judge gives 1970s sitcom a Silicon Valley spin

April 2, 2015

A “Three’s Company” parody didn’t breach rights to the TV hit, despite similarities. Like rulings on Google Books and Aereo’s video streaming, the verdict reflects Big Apple legal thinking that ideas are for sharing. It’s a philosophy tech firms might want more courts to follow.

Nestlé called out for bottling, selling California water during drought

April 2, 2015

The $243 bln Swiss giant faces populist protests for bottling and selling H2O from Canada and drought-hit California. The potential harm to its reputation may not be worth the effort. It’s Nestlé’s least profitable business, and consumers might just as well drink from the tap.

Swiss say-on-pay bodes ill for rainmaker wallets

April 2, 2015

UBS and Credit Suisse face binding shareholder votes on executive compensation for the first time. These will judge aggregate, not individual awards. But Swiss banks must also disclose their top-paid executive. That makes it harder for dealmakers to out-earn their CEOs.

April 1 jokes expose greater fools of finance

April 2, 2015

A Tesla prank involving a fake new product caused its shares to twitch. Meanwhile, Tinder for Uber seemed all too credible in a Silicon Valley littered with this-for-that business models. When investors can be easily duped, it’s a sign markets are high on hype and distortions.