Sep 6, 2013 13:57 UTC

Morgan Stanley M&A boutique factory keeps cranking

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

Morgan Stanley’s M&A boutique factory just keeps cranking. Paul Taubman, the bank’s former joint president, is the latest alumnus to ply his trade independently, helping Verizon on the $130 billion buyout of Verizon Wireless from Vodafone, announced this week. He follows Joe Perella, Bob Greenhill, Frank Quattrone, Michael Tory and others. It’s both a curse and a compliment that so many Morgan Stanley bankers hang out their own shingles.

Sep 6, 2013 02:04 UTC

Australia haunted by imaginary crises

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

“Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.” So said academic Donald Horne in his 1964 book, The Lucky Country. Yet you wouldn’t know it from the surly mood as Australians prepare to vote in a general election on Sept. 7. Despite the country’s enviable economic track record, citizens are haunted by past turmoil and apprehensive about the future. These enemies are more imagined than real.

Sep 3, 2013 21:03 UTC

Verizon puts AT&T’s acquisition willpower to test

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By Robert Cyran

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

Verizon just put AT&T’s acquisition willpower to the test. Growth in the U.S. mobile market is slowing, and as AT&T learned the hard way, competition concerns preclude any transformative domestic deals.

Sep 3, 2013 11:02 UTC

Vodafone gets it: cash is king for wary investors

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By Quentin Webb

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

Vodafone’s $130 billion U.S. exit is tailored for a cautious age. The mobile giant knows that safety-first investors, especially in Europe, still prefer cash to grand plans. And so 71 percent of the proceeds from selling Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless will go straight to shareholders. Debt falls, dividends rise, and capital expenditure should get a healthy boost. AOL-Time Warner, this is not.

Sep 1, 2013 19:55 UTC

Wall Street megadeal quest reaches end of rainbow

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

After a decade-long quest, investment bankers on both sides of the Atlantic may have finally discovered the end of the rainbow. A $130 billion transaction between Vodafone and Verizon, longtime partners in U.S. wireless, would translate into a highly coveted – and given the post-crisis pace of M&A, much-needed – pot of golden fees.

Aug 9, 2013 18:17 UTC

Carlos Slim offers escape route to KPN investors

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By Chris Hughes

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

Carlos Slim has offered an escape route to KPN investors. The Mexican tycoon’s America Movil says it intends to make a 7.2 billion euro offer for the 70 percent of the Dutch telecoms group it doesn’t already own. It’s the start of a saga that could end in a substantially higher offer. But investors should be realistic – that’s a big “could”.

Aug 6, 2013 01:54 UTC

Wash Post shows NY Times way to trophy status

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By Rob Cox

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

Jeff Bezos has confirmed what investors long ago concluded. Newspapers in the United States and other developed markets have ceased to be attractive businesses – they are toys for today’s plutocrats. The Amazon founder’s $250 million purchase of the famed Washington Post offers a template for the last few holdouts in the industry, chief among them the New York Times Co’s Sulzberger family.

Jul 29, 2013 13:54 UTC

“Equality” in Big Ad merger may be hard to sustain

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By Chris Hughes and Quentin Webb

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

The merger of equals between Publicis and Omnicom is easier to proclaim than to sustain. The combination of the two advertising groups is neat, but it carries risks. Mergers of equals have a bad name. That used to be because U.S. deals were wedged into the structure just to benefit from more generous tax rules. Nowadays, it is more often because they are a nil-premium takeover in disguise, with one company winning the battle for board seats, head-office location and name.

Jul 26, 2013 14:34 UTC

Vivendi compromises to get shot of Activision

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By Quentin Webb

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

Vivendi has compromised to get shot of Activision Blizzard. The media and telecoms conglomerate is selling the bulk of its 61.1 percent stake in the U.S. video games maker for $8.2 billion. This caps a hectic week for the French group, after a network-sharing deal at home, and the 4.2 billion euro sale of Maroc Telecom. Investors will be pleased that Vivendi’s reinvention is finally taking shape. But in neither disposal has Vivendi realised the premium that usually comes with ceding control.

Jul 19, 2013 03:21 UTC

Baidu deal shows pain of being China tech upstart

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By Robyn Mak

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

Baidu’s offer to buy China’s biggest home grown mobile app store operator for $1.9 billion is a cautionary tale for smaller tech firms. NetDragon, the majority owner of 91 Wireless, agreed to sell its trophy asset to the search engine giant. The seller’s shares plunged by almost a quarter. As competition between Chinese tech giants intensifies, upstarts must choose: compete or get out of the way.