Jan 27, 2014 14:27 UTC

European telecoms will follow cable’s M&A lead


By Quentin Webb

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

European telecoms will follow cable’s lead on M&A. The latest in a string of cable tie-ups sees Liberty Global, John Malone’s sector consolidator, take full control of Dutch rival Ziggo for 10 billion euros ($13.7 billion) including debt. In telecoms, deal-making has proved trickier. But here, too, activity should start to rise.

Jan 13, 2014 22:57 UTC

Suntory lives up to motto with $16 bln Beam bid


By Rob Cox

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

For a Japanese corporation, Suntory Holdings has an especially aggressive corporate slogan: “Yatte Minahare,” which roughly translates as “Go For It.” That sums up Suntory’s willingness to pay $16 billion, or a hefty 20 times EBITDA, for the U.S. distiller of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and other tipples. That number won’t be lost in translation for Diageo, Pernod Ricard or others who might also covet Beam.

Jan 6, 2014 04:53 UTC

Asia is ripe for a brewers M&A brawl


By Una Galani

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

It is a seller’s market in the last frontier for beer. Asia Pacific is the last region not dominated in profit terms by the world’s four biggest brewers – Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller, Heineken and Carlsberg – according to Bernstein Research. Consumption of suds is growing fast, and for-sale assets are hard to find. The coming year may see new owners for Philippine brewer San Miguel and South Korea’s Oriental Brewery. The real prize may be in China, the world’s biggest beer market by far.

Dec 31, 2013 15:19 UTC
Breakingviews Columnists

Who packs the biggest power to surprise in 2014?


By Breakingviews columnists

The opinions expressed are the authors’ own.

Difficult jobs abound in the global economy, finance and business in the coming year. But so do incredibly low expectations. That means getting it right could mint legacies, and surprise investors in a good way.

Think of politicians like Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, who is about to host the world’s biggest sporting event of the year, the soccer World Cup; or John Boehner, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, an institution with one of the worst public approval ratings in history. Equally, there are a few chief executives who could defy the current consensus, such as the bosses at Deutsche Bank, Barclays or Microsoft. Herewith, Breakingviews columnists compile a list of those who might surprise us.

Dec 31, 2013 07:48 UTC

Local audit highlights China’s debt dilemma


By Peter Thal Larsen 

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

China is being a bit more precise about its debt problem. A long-awaited audit of local government borrowing shows that provinces, towns and villages collectively owed 17.9 trillion yuan ($2.96 trillion) at the end of June, including contingent liabilities. The state will now have to decide which of those debts it wants to stand behind. Its approach will offer some hints about the importance of leverage for China’s economic growth.

Dec 30, 2013 07:12 UTC

Beijing will block a big overseas deal in 2014


By Ethan Bilby

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

China will seek its own GE-Honeywell moment in 2014. European regulators asserted their growing power over global competition when they blocked the merger of the two U.S. industrial companies in 2001. Beijing’s antitrust watchdog is already giving increasing scrutiny to tie-ups even when both companies are foreign. The desire to show its economic might could see it block a deal outright.

Dec 26, 2013 17:14 UTC

Casting Blofeld: Wall Street’s pitchfork mob needs new villain


By Richard Beales

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

Wall Street critics need a new villain. Goldman Sachs has implemented a successful charm offensive since lawmakers hauled Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein up to Capitol Hill and regulators extracted a $550 million settlement from the bank a few years ago. The case against JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon is struggling to take hold. Steve Cohen, the hedge fund Wizard of Oz, is nursing legal wounds. The culture of greed in finance won’t disappoint for long, though.

Dec 23, 2013 18:26 UTC

Beware old tech seeking fountain of youth


By Robert Cyran

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

Beware of old tech seeking the fountain of youth. Hardware makers including Cisco, IBM and Hewlett-Packard – with a combined two centuries of life among them – are increasingly falling prey to natural selection in Silicon Valley. They’re devouring smaller, newer firms to keep pace, but weaknesses are getting harder to hide. That could lead to bigger, desperate deals for richly valued business software and big data companies.


I see the problem as those behemoths are trying to slow technology to match their speed. But no matter what, they can’t keep up. They often buy a smaller company not to exploit the technology, but to squash it. Also they think they are going to get he techies from that new purchase too. But that often fails to work as they leave for other smaller companies, not wanting the bureaucracy of the large corps that really want them to do …. nothing. Big corporations can not innovate. They must buy it. They are simple “Me Too” organizations. Apple is making it because it is almost entirely selling to the public at large. The other behemoths mentioned are trying to sell to businesses that are plain just not buying.

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Dec 18, 2013 22:15 UTC

Can General Electric keep the activists at bay?


By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opini0ns expressed are his own.

Can General Electric keep activist investors at bay? If the gates at Apple, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble can be rattled, complacency just isn’t an option for any company, even and maybe especially a $270 billion conglomerate. While GE’s broad strategy looks more coherent than ever, the Connecticut giant still has two potential vulnerabilities: its finance arm and its longtime leader Jeffrey Immelt.

Dec 17, 2013 09:20 UTC

China web giants take the fight offline in 2014


By Robyn Mak

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

Remember when every offline company was desperate to become an online one? In China, it’s happening the other way round. The country’s internet giants are making forays into traditional industries, from logistics to consumer electronics. The pace will increase, but what starts as disruption could turn into overreach.