Aug 6, 2014 08:01 UTC

SoftBank’s U.S. mobile retreat is least bad option

By Peter Thal Larsen 

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

Masayoshi Son has been forced to scale back his mobile phone ambitions in the United States. The chief executive of Japan’s SoftBank has belatedly bowed to hostile regulators and abandoned plans for his Sprint unit’s $32 billion takeover of T-Mobile US. He has chosen the least bad option.

Aug 5, 2014 18:17 UTC

Gannett split puts digital on wrong side of divide

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Gannett is redefining the digital divide. The media conglomerate unveiled plans on Tuesday to spin off newspapers, including USA Today, to showcase the value of its broadcasting operations. At the same time, the company will take control of the parent of Cars.com, paying $1.8 billion for the 73 percent it doesn’t already own. Instead of using that online asset to buffer the weaker half, however, Gannett is forcing print to stand on its own.

Aug 1, 2014 13:36 UTC

Flaky Iliad bid muddies T-Mobile US sale odyssey

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By Robert Cyran

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

Iliad has delivered what could be a Trojan horse for Sprint’s plans to buy T-Mobile US. In a rival approach, the $16 billion French telcom has offered $33 a share, or $15 billion, for 57 percent of the No. 4 U.S. mobile operator. It’s a flaky offer on several levels. But the intervention may intensify antitrust objections to Sprint’s wish to merge.

Aug 1, 2014 11:33 UTC

French T-Mo bid looks like peak TMT Entrepreneur

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Quentin Webb

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

TMT-men are the superheroes of finance today. A market boom has let telecoms, media and technology dealmakers such as John Malone of Liberty Global and Masayoshi Son of SoftBank finance ever-bigger dreams. Xavier Niel, the billionaire behind French telecoms group Iliad, is now bidding $15 billion in cash for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile US, listed but two-thirds owned by Deutsche Telekom. Maybe this idea should have stayed in the lab.

Jul 31, 2014 18:51 UTC

REITs and MLPs make tax inversions a diversion

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By Christopher Swann

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

A couple of U.S. home-grown tax breaks are making M&A inversions look like a diversion. American authorities are letting Windstream designate its telecom cables as real estate, qualifying them for tax breaks. And a partnership will shield assets of energy firm Hess from the Internal Revenue Service. Politicians, though, are indignant over firms that move overseas – even when home-grown tax loopholes are costlier.

Jul 30, 2014 18:39 UTC

Inversions start to spin out of control

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By Robert Cyran

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

Inversions are starting to spin out of control. A quest for tax savings has made digestible overseas targets attractive to U.S. buyers. Hospira’s potential $5 bln deal for a Danone unit highlights a fresh supply, for so-called “spinversions.” The odd combination also reflects the perverse incentives distorting corporate decisions.

Jul 28, 2014 19:43 UTC

Discounters’ $20 bln deal may spark M&A price war

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By Kevin Allison

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

Discount retailer Dollar Tree’s $8.5 billion pounce on rival Family Dollar could spark an M&A price war. The companies have identified more than enough cost savings in their $20 billion union to cover the 23 percent premium to be paid to Carl Icahn and other Family Dollar investors. As a percentage of revenue, though, synergies are relatively low. That may leave room for sector giant Dollar General to lob in a bid.

Jul 24, 2014 19:24 UTC

Murdoch calls on European outposts for Time Warner

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By Quentin Webb

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

Rupert Murdoch is calling on European outposts to help in his pursuit of Time Warner. The media mogul’s Twenty-First Century Fox is poised to sell its Sky pay-TV arms in Italy and Germany to Fox’s UK affiliate British Sky Broadcasting. There’s strategic logic to the asset shuffle and the proceeds could help sweeten his $80 billion bid for the owner of CNN and Warner Bros. How Murdoch treats non-Murdoch owners is the linchpin.

Jul 24, 2014 16:57 UTC

Allergan bosses put money where their mouths are

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By Robert Cyran

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

Allergan bosses have put money where their mouths are. The drugmaker says it is worth more on its own than the $52 billion hostile suitor Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is offering. That’s straight from the empty-promise, takeover-defense playbook. Allergan, however, is linking stock and option grants to lofty profit goals. It’s a bolder gambit that should become an M&A norm.

Jul 22, 2014 21:52 UTC

Goldman chums return John Thain to semi-importance

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By Antony Currie

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

John Thain is returning to significance with a little help from some former Goldman Sachs colleagues. Thain has been doing penance running lending minnow CIT for the past four years after serving as Merrill Lynch’s last boss. Now he’s spending $3.4 billion to buy OneWest Bank, which is owned by, among others, a gaggle of Goldman alums. The deal manages to bring CIT, and Thain, back into the club of systemically important financial institutions, if just barely.