Jun 6, 2012 20:05 UTC

BofA reject wins Fannie Mae booby prize

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By Daniel Indiviglio and Agnes T. Crane
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

No good deed goes unpunished. Fannie Mae has chosen Timothy Mayopoulos, its general counsel, as its new chief executive. His promotion won’t improve already tense relations with Bank of America – the mega-bank fired him in 2008 after he questioned mounting losses. But his integrity and background make him a decent fit for the job.

Jun 6, 2012 10:28 UTC

Carlos Slim may drive KPN to poison

By Quentin Webb

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

Carlos Slim may drive KPN to poison. The Dutch telecoms group wants to dodge what it sees as a takeover-on-the-cheap from the world’s richest man. Slim is hoping to nab a near-28 percent stake at eight euros a share. KPN’s response is to wax lyrical about its standalone potential, and drop heavy hints about a possible German tie-up that’s been talked about for a decade. But counterpart Telefonica does not seem ready to trade.

Jun 6, 2012 10:26 UTC

BP’s Russian exit would lead to existential limbo

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By Christopher Hughes

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

BP has had a lot of grief from its Russian joint venture and may now sell out of TNK-BP altogether. The UK oil major would then solve one problem by creating another. The world’s best energy assets are generally in difficult places and involve challenging partnerships. Awkward alliances are the norm for Big Oil – assuming BP wants to stay in the superleague.

Jun 6, 2012 09:41 UTC

Douwe Egberts listing has to create its own buzz

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By Quentin Webb

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

Sara Lee’s coffee spin-off must create its own buzz. Investors need to believe the unit, officially known as “D.E Master Blenders 1753”, will benefit from a sharper focus and strong leadership.

Jun 5, 2012 21:45 UTC

Newest bank sheriff can’t let JPMorgan moment pass

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

It’s time for the newest U.S. bank sheriff to earn his spurs. Just two months into the job, U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry got a swift reminder about the shortcomings that dog his agency. Despite being JPMorgan’s primary regulator, it managed to miss the whopping trading loss inside the bank’s chief investment office. Curry’s first test on the national stage comes on Wednesday, when he’ll have the chance to show if he’s ready to toughen up the OCC.

Jun 1, 2012 18:45 UTC

Wal-Mart jamboree missing one thing – a vote count

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By Agnes T. Crane
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.Wal-Mart pulled out all the stops for its shareholder meeting on Friday. Justin Timberlake emceed at the event, which also doubled as a golden jubilee celebration. Lionel Richie had the arena-sized audience on its feet with “All Night Long” and Celine Dion closed down the party just in time for lunch. It’s a shame the mega-retailer’s organizational skills don’t extend to the basics, like providing more timely color on the controversial re-election of its board.

The 15 directors are under fire for their handling of a multi-year bribery scandal in Mexico that the New York Times brought to light in April. If the allegations prove to be true, the firm could face more serious charges as it may have violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Yet the only information Chairman Robson Walton gave about the outcome of the vote was that a majority of shareholders had voted to re-elect everyone on the board. But that was pretty much a foregone conclusion: the Walton family controls about half of the company’s 3.4 billion shares.

Jun 1, 2012 15:31 UTC

Fake exclusive: Zuckerberg memo to Facebook staff

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

Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg will soon return from his Italian honeymoon to face troops coping with the company’s busted initial public offering. The near-30 percent plunge in the stock from its debut price, along with the resulting media and regulatory scrutiny, has tarnished the company’s reputation and equated a firm built to accomplish a social mission with the greed of Wall Street. His message to employees should be humble, clear and ambitious at the same time. Using Zuckerberg’s own pre-IPO words, Breakingviews has penned a sample memo ahead of a likely real one that it wouldn’t be surprising to see turn up in the media next week.

Jun 1, 2012 10:23 UTC

Market moves point to grown-up asset allocation

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By Robert Cole

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

When bonds go up, shares go down; and when shares go up, bonds go down. Right? Not recently. Recent moves in the price of assets in these key investment classes suggest that the traditional, binary analysis needs an update.

May 31, 2012 20:24 UTC

RIM doesn’t need to remain Canadian

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

Research In Motion doesn’t need to remain Canadian. The struggling BlackBerry maker is weighing its options, from joint ventures to a sale. Some officials seem to prefer to keep the once-feted company’s ownership north of the U.S. border. But despite form in the recent past, the possibility of a deal being blocked shouldn’t worry potential foreign buyers of RIM too much. The company’s declining sales and significance present a bigger challenge. 

True, the Canadian government torpedoed BHP’s $39 billion offer for fertilizer producer Potash Corp in 2010. And Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Reuters earlier this year that takeovers of “critical technology” companies might get the kibosh. 

COMMENT

And what if RIM does figure out how to make a hit handset soon?

Posted by sunblizzard | Report as abusive
May 31, 2012 20:21 UTC

Blackstone loss could be gain for Facebook owners

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

The Blackstone Group’s loss could be Facebook investors’ gain. Judges are citing a ruling last year against the private equity firm to push other companies for more disclosure before they go public. That could help shareholders claiming that the social network downplayed revenue doubts in regulatory filings ahead of its initial public offering.