Mar 10, 2014 06:52 UTC

China internet duo join forces against common foe

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By Peter Thal Larsen and Robyn Mak 

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

Two of China’s internet companies are joining forces against their common foe: Alibaba. Tencent is injecting its also-ran e-commerce units and $215 million in cash into JD.com for a 15 percent pre-IPO stake in the online retailer. More importantly, the two will collaborate on mobile commerce. Both have the same objective: erode Alibaba’s dominant market share.

Feb 28, 2014 16:15 UTC

Blackstone bets Versace can go up a few sizes

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By Quentin Webb

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

Blackstone is betting Versace can go up a few sizes. The U.S. private equity firm has bought 20 percent of the Italian fashion house at a 1 billion-euro valuation. This is a wager that Versace’s lightweight business can grow to fit its extra-large brand.

Feb 24, 2014 17:18 UTC

Facebook stock is not so different from bitcoin

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By Rob Cox

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

With its extraordinary $19 billion swoop on WhatsApp last week, Facebook proved its stock is not so different from the crypto-currency of the moment, bitcoin. They can both be used for certain, specific purposes. Neither is backed by a government. Both depend on vast networks of individuals. And their worth reflects demand, which is based on murky fundamentals. The trick: monetize them while they still have value.

COMMENT

I was thinking a similar set of thoughts yesterday. not the devaluation but the true value of a Facebook in terms of influence and comparing it to a retailer like Walmart. You see people go to Walmart every day and are influenced in buying what is stacked near the door and presented by the vendors on the shelves. All of this presentation is a method which has ben calculated to make you buy more. Think of a model where a Facebook is the new influencer in a virtual retailer sense. They sell advertising and influence people to purchase various things through their social network circles. How is this different from a Walmart model? Yes it is virtual. FB can even enter a new country quite easily and if it does not work out it can exit. Walmart typically has to acquire a competitor in the new country as they need to get in with immediate scale and have bricks and mortar right away to get the good locations. So with this in mind….at 10 years old could Facebook be the new Walmart as they will be everywhere, the largest and the most influential very soon? Maybe the high valuations they are putting on FB shares are justified if you look at the potential. Or maybe I have just been influenced.

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Feb 21, 2014 20:58 UTC

Modern financial arts get special exhibition

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Modern financial arts have been given a special exhibition. Washington’s estimable Corcoran Gallery, with its de Koonings and Twomblys, is being carved up like a common conglomerate. Los Angeles played host to a hostile museum takeover bid and Detroit’s restructuring features the paintings and sculptures of the city’s art institute. A blank spreadsheet is proving just as able to inspire as a canvas.

Feb 21, 2014 20:49 UTC

Spain’s BBVA keeps banking’s tech enemies close

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Francisco Gonzalez, chairman of BBVA, recently said that banks needed to take on Amazon and Google or die. He aims to be one of the survivors. The 51 billion euro ($70 billion) Spanish bank has bought U.S.-based mobile banking technology startup Simple for $117 million. It may be a small deal, but it comes with potentially big implications for the industry.

Feb 20, 2014 03:34 UTC

No algorithm makes Facebook-WhatsApp deal compute

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By Robert Cyran

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

No algorithm based on terrestrial mathematics can make Facebook’s WhatsApp deal compute. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is committing to spend $19 billion for the 55-employee, 450 million-user, ad-free messaging service. Facebook says growth is the point, not making money. That’s the kind of magical thinking shareholders signed up for when they surrendered control to the founder.

Feb 17, 2014 14:55 UTC

Vivendi’s SFR is top target for French cable king

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By Quentin Webb

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

France’s cable king promised investors a slew of deals when he floated Altice, his investment vehicle. The biggest and best would be Vivendi’s mobile operator SFR.

Feb 13, 2014 06:36 UTC

Privatisations a bright spot for gloomy Aussie M&A

By Una Galani

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

Privatisation is a bright spot in what looks to be an otherwise dreary year for Australian dealmakers. The country is set for a flurry of activity as cash-constrained local governments prepare to flog existing infrastructure assets in order to fund new projects and create jobs.

Feb 11, 2014 15:24 UTC

Nestle selldown leaves L’Oreal more a family group

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By Pierre Briançon 

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

Nestle’s sale of an 8 percent stake in L’Oreal to the French cosmetics group marks a fundamental reset of the duo’s relations. The French get more freedom; the Swiss, cash and some assets. Nestle may describe its reduced holding as “strategic”, yet looks, long term, like a seller of more. But keeping a 23 percent investment gives it the option to reverse course if it wishes.

Feb 11, 2014 06:41 UTC

Alibaba’s $1.6 bln map deal fuels online land grab

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By Robyn Mak and John Foley 

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

Alibaba’s purchase of AutoNavi is a land-grab, in two senses. The Chinese e-commerce group has offered a premium price to buy out the 72 percent of the U.S.-listed mapping company it doesn’t already own, valuing the whole thing at $1.6 billion. There’s a compelling competitive reason for Alibaba to get deeper into online maps, but what’s hard to locate is the financial rationale.