Dec 26, 2013 17:14 UTC

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

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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

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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.

COMMENT

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?

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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

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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.

Dec 12, 2013 10:03 UTC

Microsoft lucky to avoid Nokia’s India tax bill

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Microsoft is lucky to dodge Nokia’s tax bill in India. On Dec. 12, the Delhi High Court allowed the Finnish group to transfer its Chennai factory to the U.S. software giant as part of its planned $7.4 billion sale of its mobile handset business. While the overall deal wasn’t in doubt, Microsoft avoids Nokia’s hard-to-assess tax liability. If only Vodafone had been so fortunate.

Dec 10, 2013 20:34 UTC

Time Warner Cable could play a little Pac-Man

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Time Warner Cable could play a little Pac-Man. Being acquired by smaller rival Charter Communications, a plan that has been doing the rounds, would create a highly indebted cable giant with an enterprise value of over $100 billion.

Dec 6, 2013 02:12 UTC

Benefits of being “G-SIFI” seem to outweigh costs

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

The benefits of being labeled “too big to fail” may just outweigh the costs. Since regulators first published their list of global systemically important financial institutions, or G-SIFIs, the banks concerned have boosted capital and tamped down balance sheets. But smaller lenders, particularly in Europe, have done the same without joining the club. And shareholders seem not to notice much of a difference.

Nov 29, 2013 05:37 UTC

Australia too mealy-mouthed on protectionism

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By John Foley

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

Australia is being mealy mouthed about protectionism. Treasurer Joe Hockey blocked the A$3.4 billion ($3.1 billion) takeover of agricultural trader GrainCorp by U.S. rival ADM on Nov. 29, on the grounds that Australia’s grain market is only just getting used to competition, five years after the national wheat monopoly was disbanded. For Australia’s foreign investment prospects, the decision itself is less bad than the ambiguity over why it was made.

Nov 28, 2013 08:08 UTC

Giant Interactive’s $2.9 bln buyout hard to resist

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By Una Galani

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

Giant Interactive’s $2.9 billion buyout is hard to resist. Chairman Shi Yuzhu is leading a consortium with Baring Private Equity Asia to take the U.S-listed Chinese computer gaming group private. At almost 13 times this year’s earnings, the group’s offer to buy the 53 percent that it doesn’t already own is a chunky premium to peers. Besides, independent investors have few alternatives.

Nov 26, 2013 20:33 UTC

Turning suit deal inside out reveals silver lining

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb
Thea author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Turning a suit deal inside out has revealed a silver lining. After fending off a hostile bid from Jos. A. Bank, Men’s Wearhouse is now proposing to buy its smaller rival for $1.2 billion. The estimated cost savings could cover nearly the entire purchase price and the combined company would be less indebted. Structured this way round, the transaction is financially more fashionable.