May 23, 2012 11:38 UTC

Hot infrastructure auctions drive down returns

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By Quentin Webb

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

The market for infrastructure assets is heating up. Yield-hungry investors are keen on large, predictable businesses in the less rickety bits of Europe. So auctions like E.ON’s sale of its German gas pipes run pretty hot. Even if the bets are less extravagant than during the credit boom, returns will suffer.

May 21, 2012 11:23 UTC

Long-awaited Yahoo deal heaps pressure on Alibaba

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By Wei Gu

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

Alibaba has finally reached a truce with Yahoo. The Chinese e-commerce giant is offering at least $7 billion to buy back its own shares from the U.S. internet group, recapturing half the stake Yahoo acquired in 2005 for $1 billion. The timing is good, since Facebook’s IPO has left cashed-up investors who could help finance the deal. But a successful outcome will heap pressure on Alibaba.

May 10, 2012 19:35 UTC

Coty’s freshened offer hard for Avon to resist

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By Agnes T. Crane

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

Coty is making its advances harder for Avon Products to resist. The European fragrance maker has given the down-in-the-dumps U.S. makeup firm until Monday to engage in discussions. But Coty has raised its offer to $10.7 billion, added Warren Buffett’s cash and blessing, and hinted at the possibility of a still higher price – while Avon is, if anything, looking weaker.

May 10, 2012 16:39 UTC

Boardroom botches call for checklist fix

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

If checklists can save lives, surely they can help shareholders. The scandals at Yahoo, Green Mountain Coffee, Chesapeake Energy and other U.S. companies suggest boards of directors could do with some simple reminders to prevent them from making stupid mistakes. Breakingviews has drawn up a starter set.

May 10, 2012 10:52 UTC

Hong Kong’s LME bid is big bet on China flows

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By Wei Gu

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

Hong Kong is playing the China card in the bidding for the London Metal Exchange. Proximity to the world’s largest consumer of metals might make up for the Hong Kong Exchange’s relative inexperience in trading commodities. But Beijing may open up regardless of who owns the LME.

May 6, 2012 17:22 UTC

Buffett Rule divides Berkshire Hathaway faithful

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By Agnes T. Crane 

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

Warren Buffett has built a career on finding value. And insurance-focused Berkshire Hathaway excels at calculated risks. But the ideological divide over a politically charged tax plan with Buffett’s name on it that marred Saturday’s annual shareholder love-fest this year suggests a temporary lapse when it comes to those two virtues. The Buffett Rule may be an unexpected liability for Berkshire.

COMMENT

Agnes,

I don’t think this is very balanced reporting. I’m not happy with the level of complexity involving this matter and the over-simplification with which it is being discussed. Look at the answer from the Greg Hershberger – this is typical conservative rhetoric (of which I am conservative – but come on, he isn’t even thinking) and misses the point that 65% of the rich are paying 30% or more. So it isn’t a matter of whether the people producing should pay more tax, it is more about whether the person that invests his money in an actual company should pay more than the person that just invests his money in the stock. If the person buying the company pays himself more as the company makes more, he will get taxed on payroll taxes (33% at the highest rate). It is nothing but the lobbying activy of the traders, hedge fund managers, and the investment comunity that has created this gap, and Warren is suggesting that it be closed. He didn’t ask to reform the entire tax code and he didn’t suggest that this would solve our financial crisis. What it would do is get rid of some of the concern that the rich are getting richer by changing the rules – not because they are working harder, or smarter (cheating excluded). It doesn’t matter how much logic we use, some people have no interest in playing by the rules. You also didn’t mention that the second applause was louder than the first, and people seem to forget that Warren’s father was a republican congressman. RW

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May 2, 2012 16:52 UTC

Let News Corp keep BSkyB

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By Chris Hughes

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

News Corporation should be allowed to keep its 39 percent stake in UK pay-TV group BSkyB. British MPs may be right when they say founder Rupert Murdoch isn’t “fit” to run News Corp and turned a blind eye to wrongdoing in its UK operations. But a regulatory review of BSkyB’s fitness to broadcast isn’t the place to remedy these failings.

May 1, 2012 21:18 UTC

Monster shouldn’t be Coke’s tipple of choice

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By Agnes T. Crane
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Coca-Cola is more than a century old, but it wants to be hip. Even so, the company says it’s not about to buy energy-drink maker Monster Beverages, as a Wall Street Journal report suggested. That sounds mature – in a good way – even if Coke did leave the door open to build on its existing distribution relationship with Monster.

Apr 24, 2012 16:39 UTC

Murdochs’ UK political friendships backfire on all

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By Chris Hughes 

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

The Murdochs’ UK political friendships are backfiring on all concerned. Fresh revelations about the media moguls’ relationships have created new uncertainty over News Corp’s part ownership of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB. They also have the potential to throw the UK’s coalition government into a full-blown crisis.

Apr 18, 2012 10:50 UTC

Repsol nearly pricing in the worst

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

How bad could it get for Repsol in Argentina? The Spanish oil and gas company has just had the bulk of its 57 percent stake in YPF expropriated by Buenos Aires. It’s far from clear whether Repsol will be properly compensated. Which way it goes could make big difference to its market value.