May 10, 2013 13:53 UTC

BT’s free sports gambit tries to out-Sky Sky

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By George Hay and Quentin Webb

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

BT’s free sports gambit is an attempt to out-Sky Sky. The UK telco on May 9 surprised investors by offering new broadband users the chance to watch live Premier League soccer for no extra charge. The 2 percent, 6 percent and 12 percent drops in the share prices of BT, BSkyB and smaller competitor TalkTalk may look like an extreme response to the move, but they reflect rational fears of a price war.

May 7, 2013 14:09 UTC

Lufthansa governance farce marks new low point

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Europe’s largest airline in the last 24 hours has gone through a series of self-inflicted turbulences that raise doubts about the quality of its governance. On Monday morning, the nominated new chairman of Lufthansa, a former chief executive of the company, unexpectedly announced that he would not be available for the task. One day ahead of the annual shareholder meeting, Wolfgang Mayrhuber, 66, seemed to cave in to pressure from international investors unhappy with his candidacy. Then, a few hours later, he changed his mind once again, and decided to run after all.

May 3, 2013 17:53 UTC

PepsiCo resistance against activists looks futile

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By Robert Cyran

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

A PepsiCo breakup looks like a matter of time. Investors with a hankering for corporate restructurings have taken stakes in the $128 billion snacks and drinks conglomerate. Splitting the two operations in some way would be straight out of their standard playbook. Though the company has opposed such efforts in the past, the success of Nelson Peltz at Cadbury and his interest in another food biggie, Mondelez, may be hard to resist.

May 3, 2013 11:24 UTC

RBS needs to make the case for freedom

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

Royal Bank of Scotland needs to make the case for its freedom. The UK bank’s management is now publicly stating that the process to sell down the UK government’s 81 percent stake will begin in under a year. But a quick sale looks as double-edged as RBS’s own current performance.

May 2, 2013 13:51 UTC

Shell must hope Voser successor mimics his ways

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By Kevin Allison

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

When a chief executive unexpectedly leaves to spend more time with his family, it’s usually a cue to start a post-mortem into a failed tenure. Shell looks like an exception. Actually, it is shame Peter Voser is leaving. The Anglo-Dutch oil major could do worse than hope his successor mimics his ways.

May 1, 2013 12:43 UTC

Barclays in capital fog after Deutsche U-turn

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By George Hay

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

Barclays is under the spotlight after Deutsche Bank’s  capital U-turn. Having trumpeted an organic capital strategy since being appointed co-chief executives of the German bank last year, Juergen Fitschen and Anshu Jain finally opted for a 3 billion pound equity placing to bolster capital. Barclays new boss Antony Jenkins doesn’t look immune to a similar volte face.

Apr 30, 2013 13:31 UTC

New UBS is starting to work

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By Dominic Elliott

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

The new-look UBS  is starting to deliver. The first full quarter of the strategy announced on Oct. 29 has broadly answered the Swiss bank’s critics. UBS shone in trading and capital markets financing, returning to its traditional strength in equities. Investment bank stability helped wealth management business too.

Apr 29, 2013 19:00 UTC

Chrysler value spat may offer Fiat silver lining

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By Rob Cox

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

It took about a generation before Italian immigrants to the United States adopted the ways of their new home and shook off those of the old country. Italy’s premier industrial enterprise may do it in a matter of years. A spat over Fiat’s plans to fully acquire Chrysler, Detroit’s number three carmaker, could hasten the process.

Apr 26, 2013 12:53 UTC

BBVA is bank of choice for Spanish bulls

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By George Hay

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

BBVA  is the bank of choice for Spanish bulls. Sightings of that most Iberian of beasts are few and far between. But Spain’s second-largest lender looks best for anyone believing that the country’s economy is on the eve of a recovery. 

Apr 25, 2013 19:13 UTC

Exxon Mobil running hard just to stand still

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By Christopher Swann

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

Exxon Mobil is having to run hard just to stand still. The world’s biggest company is pumping only a trickle more oil than 12 years ago – and maintaining even that is getting more expensive. Only buybacks are making growth in earnings per share look decent.