Feb 11, 2014 15:24 UTC

Nestle selldown leaves L’Oreal more a family group

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By Pierre Briançon 

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

Nestle’s sale of an 8 percent stake in L’Oreal to the French cosmetics group marks a fundamental reset of the duo’s relations. The French get more freedom; the Swiss, cash and some assets. Nestle may describe its reduced holding as “strategic”, yet looks, long term, like a seller of more. But keeping a 23 percent investment gives it the option to reverse course if it wishes.

Feb 11, 2014 06:41 UTC

Alibaba’s $1.6 bln map deal fuels online land grab

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By Robyn Mak and John Foley 

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

Alibaba’s purchase of AutoNavi is a land-grab, in two senses. The Chinese e-commerce group has offered a premium price to buy out the 72 percent of the U.S.-listed mapping company it doesn’t already own, valuing the whole thing at $1.6 billion. There’s a compelling competitive reason for Alibaba to get deeper into online maps, but what’s hard to locate is the financial rationale.

Jan 30, 2014 06:29 UTC

ICBC takes slow-burn approach to global expansion

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By John Foley

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

ICBC’s purchase of Standard Bank’s UK trading division has moved at a glacial pace, and gives rivals little to fear. That’s the best sign that China’s largest lender knows what it’s doing.

Jan 27, 2014 14:27 UTC

European telecoms will follow cable’s M&A lead

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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.