Breakingviews

Next stop: Siemens-Alstom train merger

June 24, 2014

Losing the competition for Alstom’s power assets was a blessing in disguise for the German engineering group. It can now focus fully on its internal restructuring. Fixing the ailing train unit is crucial. Hiving it off to Alstom itself could well be the best solution.

Hollywood’s hopes in China rest on Youku

June 24, 2014

The Chinese website streams 400 mln videos a day, making it Netflix, YouTube and Comcast stuffed into one dumpling. For all that, Youku loses money. Yet the interests of Tinseltown and the Chinese Communist Party may be converging around its business model.

Oracle deal provides partly cloudy forecast

June 23, 2014

In a way the $5.3 bln deal for Micros is a relief for shareholders. Even if it’s the start of an M&A binge, it’s not at a crazy valuation. Then again, longtime partner Micros is more an add-on than a way to supercharge Oracle’s effort in the cloud. That challenge remains for now.

GE scores a Pyrrhic victory in France

June 20, 2014

The U.S. conglomerate has won the battle for Alstom’s energy businesses. It saw off nemesis Siemens and reached a truce with a hostile French state. Yet here’s a paradox: this is a clearer victory for Paris and Alstom than for GE itself. And it’s not all bad for Siemens either.

Supremes ride shotgun with Tesla down open road

June 19, 2014

The top U.S. court unanimously ruled that abstract ideas even if run through a computer can be freely adapted. Elon Musk’s electric carmaker also just opened up its technology. Both decisions spread an important message to the vicious world of patent fighting: share, don’t hoard.

Paris forces GE into over-engineered Alstom bid

June 19, 2014

Take 3: out goes a simple $16 bln cash deal with some job promises. In comes a string of joint ventures to satisfy France’s taste for alliances and industrial champions. This looks less shareholder-friendly but more deliverable, and pulls GE further ahead of rival bidder Siemens.

Elon Musk applies his magic touch to M&A

June 18, 2014

The $350 mln acquisition of panel maker Silevo added $900 mln to SolarCity’s market value. It’s an investment in an efficient technology and a hedge against rising import tariffs. Manufacturing, however, is the riskiest part of solar. And Musk is a more proven builder than buyer.

Medtronic-Covidien is blast from M&A advisory past

June 17, 2014

A mega-merger can be an excuse to hire multiple Wall Street advisers, sometimes just by way of thanks for providing loans or other services. The two companies in Sunday’s $43 bln medical devices tie-up are using just one each. Bankers will be hoping the flashback doesn’t last.

China Macau tolerance won’t last forever

June 17, 2014

The scale of the transformation of this former Portuguese colony into China’s gambling den is extraordinary. Each year it creates the equivalent of a new Las Vegas in revenue. But Beijing will eventually exercise more sway over the house’s winnings. Glimmers are already evident.

Morgan Stanley email shame begs a tech solution

June 16, 2014

Messages sent by the bank’s head of M&A to Allergan look bad now that it works for hostile suitor Valeant. Merger practitioners, meanwhile, won’t like Allergan’s scorched-earth tactic releasing them. The episode does, however, prove there’s a market for a corporate Snapchat.