Mar 3, 2015 20:30 UTC

Trust Citi to win from losing most profitable unit

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By Antony Currie

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

Trust Citigroup to benefit from offloading its most profitable business. The U.S. mega-bank has at last sold OneMain, to rival Springleaf, for $4.25 billion. The subprime consumer finance unit has generated returns that far exceed anything else at Citi. And yet the deal provides all manner of relief for the erratic lender run by Michael Corbat.

Feb 24, 2015 19:42 UTC

Hitachi’s $2 bln deal signals Italy open for M&A

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By Quentin Webb

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

Hitachi’s $2.2 billion deal signals that Italy is open for M&A. The bullet-train maker has agreed to buy Finmeccanica’s rail units. In Italy, and across continental Europe, sales of high-end industrial assets to Far Eastern investors can be controversial. But Hitachi is a credible buyer offering a full price. It helps that the seller is keen to restructure and has sought these divestments for years.

Feb 23, 2015 20:29 UTC

Deal junkie Valeant shoots up on $10 bln fix

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By Robert Cyran

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

Deal junkie Valeant Pharmaceuticals has shot up on a $10 billion fix. The drugmaker’s pledge last year to focus on organic growth and debt reduction didn’t last long. Cost cuts and tax savings from buying Salix Pharmaceuticals proved irresistible. What Valeant’s injecting isn’t clear, though. Salix’s numbers are fuzzy after it admitted pumping clients full of inventory.

Feb 20, 2015 20:25 UTC

Time Warner Cable’s deal risk goes down to wire

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Time Warner Cable’s deal risk is going down to the wire. The $45 billion sale to larger rival Comcast has already been under consideration for nearly a year by U.S. regulators. A Federal Communications Commission preoccupied with its decision to treat the internet like a utility caused part of the delay. The agency’s decision to raise the standard for high-speed broadband also sparked fresh concern it might influence the Department of Justice’s analysis. Implied chances for success are now at 60 percent, close to the lowest in the market since the transaction was announced.

Feb 17, 2015 19:34 UTC

Fresh flames rise from Sealy’s ever-burning bed

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By Stephanie Rogan

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

The burning bed is flaring up again. Uppity hedge fund H Partners, alleging a dormant stock price at Tempur Sealy and private equity directors asleep on the job, wants the boss sacked and a seat on the board. A torturous financial history suggests it’s probably time to light a fire under the company and the industry again.

Feb 16, 2015 10:58 UTC

Michele Ferrero leaves $25 bln-plus Nutella empire

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By Quentin Webb

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

Michele Ferrero leaves a $25 billion-plus empire. The confectioner, who has died at 89, had a gift for creating and marketing treats, building Italy’s biggest fortune from nutty spread, Kinder Eggs and Tic Tacs. Stock markets and deals were both anathema. Rivals will hope his heirs tire of independence.

Feb 12, 2015 20:13 UTC

Expedia indicates first-class M&A tickets remain

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By Kevin Allison

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

Expedia’s plan to buy Orbitz Worldwide indicates that some first-class M&A tickets remain available. The online travel agent’s shares jumped 16 percent after it said it would pay $1.6 billion, including debt, to absorb its smaller rival. Despite evidence of fewer easy pickings, Expedia shows why the deal boom still has some runway.

Feb 12, 2015 15:16 UTC

Yahoo’s Alibaba spinoff attracts big discount

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By Robert Cyran

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

Yahoo can’t even earn a reward for doing what shareholders wanted. The company’s plan for a tax-free spinoff of its stake in Alibaba looks logical. But a Breakingviews calculator suggests investors are attaching a 34 percent discount to the U.S. tech firm’s Alibaba shares – assuming, that is, Yahoo’s core business is worth something.

Feb 5, 2015 20:20 UTC

Pfizer’s generics injection lifts mood for breakup

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By Robert Cyran

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

Pfizer has made more than its share of value-destroying acquisitions. The pharmaceutical giant’s $15 billion purchase of Hospira could reverse that history. The injectable-drug maker’s strength in non-branded medications should boost Pfizer’s own generics unit – and open the way for spinning it off.

Feb 4, 2015 18:56 UTC

Smucker deal may keep activists in Kibbles ‘n Bits

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By Kevin Allison

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

J M Smucker’s $5.8 billion purchase of Big Heart Pet Brands may keep investor activists in Kibbles ’n Bits. The $11 billion owner of Folgers coffee, Jif peanut butter and eponymous fruit spreads should gain bargaining power with retailers by bundling human treats with dog food. But the odd combination may elicit a Pavlovian response from uppity shareholders.