Deutsche Bank’s long round trip

March 25, 2015

The German bank spent two decades expanding massively into the capital markets business. Along the way, it lost touch with its original mission of serving German businesses and their owners, without finding a viable new one. The crisis has spurred a return to traditional values.

Google’s CFO search should have it feeling lucky

March 24, 2015

There’s a dearth of executives with the financial, tech and government experience needed to help run a $400 bln company. Even fewer women fit the bill. Silicon Valley and Wall Street just can’t find enough Ruth Porats fast enough. The challenge is to create more like her.

Inditex shares no longer a bargain

March 18, 2015

The Zara owner’s stock has risen more than 20 percent this year. The weakening euro is an advantage over rival H&M. The Spanish recovery and the group’s nimble business model justify a premium valuation. But at more than 30 times earnings, the good news is already in the shares.

Clock ticks for Swatch in Apple Watch challenge

March 17, 2015

Swatch CEO Nick Hayek is sanguine about the tech giant’s attempt to disrupt time. Yet he faces tricky options: lock horns with Tim Cook in a smartwatch war, or move upmarket where Apple will struggle to compete on craftsmanship. Swatch doesn’t look primed for either.

Valeant’s $11 bln bid may have scored two knockouts

March 16, 2015

By sweetening its offer for Salix, the acquisitive drugmaker now backed by hedgie Bill Ackman put rival suitor Endo on the mat. The extra cash and a balance sheet reeling from the Allergan deal leave the business model looking wobbly. Valeant may have just rung its own bell too.

BNY Mellon spat hints at activism getting crowded

March 13, 2015

Marcato Capital, run by a protégé of Bill Ackman, is gunning for the bank’s CEO after Nelson Peltz’s Trian secured a board seat. Sotheby’s and Darden also attracted multiple agitators. Being pushy has been profitable, but there may be too much money chasing too few opportunities.

Wobbly stock markets are in thrall to central banks

March 11, 2015

Performance this year reflects likely monetary policy. The euro zone is set to ease: equities are strong and insiders are selling down stakes in Zalando, JCDecaux and others at a record clip. The U.S. market is weaker as tightening nears. Dollar-exposed Asian bourses struggle.

Credit Suisse buys some insurance with Pru CEO

March 10, 2015

Hiring Tidjane Thiam to replace Brady Dougan should bring a fresh perspective to capital and cost conundrums. The former consultant may encounter skeptical dealmakers and regulators. Even so, his decision to leave the fast-growing UK insurer is a vote of confidence in banking.

Apple entry into DJIA is polish for an antique

March 6, 2015

The average will finally include the world’s biggest company in place of AT&T, Apple’s original iPhone partner. The Dow Jones is outdated, with a stock split by Visa – a move with no real-world consequences – forcing the change. Like landlines and checkbooks, though, it lives on.

UK retreat from RBS is more important than value

March 6, 2015

Chancellor George Osborne now wants to return the bank rapidly to private hands after May’s election. Both strategy and governance have been flawed. Britain is wary of starting to reduce its 79 pct stake at a loss. But that’s a price worth paying to put RBS on a stable footing.