Jun 6, 2014 07:24 UTC

Jack Ma soccer buy does Alibaba investors a favour

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By Peter Thal Larsen 

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

Jack Ma’s decision to buy half of China’s most popular soccer club has done prospective investors in Alibaba a favour. The $192 million investment in Guangzhou Evergrande which the internet giant’s founder hatched over a drinking session this week won’t affect Alibaba’s value when it goes public later this year. But it offers a priceless insight into how the company works.

Jun 5, 2014 14:17 UTC

Gannett carve-up is just a matter of Time

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

A Gannett breakup is really just a matter of Time. The $6.6 billion owner of USA Today and other newspapers isn’t getting much credit for its TV transformation. As Time Warner sets free its publishing arm this week, a Breakingviews analysis suggests Gannett should do the same.

Jun 4, 2014 18:26 UTC

Voracious buyers find the meat on Sara Lee’s bones

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By Kevin Allison

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

Voracious buyers are finding the meat on Sara Lee’s bones. The old consumer conglomerate broke itself up into meat-focused Hillshire Brands and coffee-roaster D.E Master Blenders 1753 in 2012 after spurning takeover offers worth about $12 billion, according to press reports at the time. It looked like a raw deal – until now.

Jun 3, 2014 16:31 UTC

Kellogg might make Heinz-style Buffett target

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By Kevin Allison

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

Kellogg looks like someone wants to eat it for breakfast. Takeover speculation has helped the U.S. company’s shares rise more than 8 percent since April, bestowing it with a $25 billion market value. Kellogg may be too big for a Hillshire-like takeover battle, and carries too much debt to make a traditional leveraged buyout palatable. But a deal like the one Warren Buffett and a group of Brazilian financiers struck for ketchup-maker Heinz last year might work.

Jun 2, 2014 18:47 UTC

Valeant urges $54 bln deal with carrot, two sticks

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By Robert Cyran

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

Valeant is pushing its $54 billion deal with the help of a carrot and two sticks. The pharmaceutical group raised its offer for Allergan again on Friday, on the condition that the board of its target cooperates. Meanwhile hedge fund boss Bill Ackman on Monday threatened to unseat six directors – and Valeant could yet decide to go fully hostile. But questions over Valeant’s own stock remain its biggest weakness.

May 30, 2014 14:46 UTC

Henry Kravis cultivates private equity perennials

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Henry Kravis is sowing the seeds of private equity perennials. U.S. buyout shops like his are selling companies to each other at a breakneck pace. It’s easy to be skeptical about these so-called secondaries. But KKR’s $1.6 billion acquisition of landscaper Brickman Group may turn out to be an example of how such deals can flourish.

May 29, 2014 06:16 UTC

Alibaba hints at overseas push with SingPost stake

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Alibaba hasn’t even completed its U.S. initial public offering, but already it is striking out overseas. A $249 million stake in logistics group Singapore Post targets one area where the Chinese e-commerce group may be able to apply its talent. But the concrete benefits of the deal are unclear – besides focusing investors’ attention on the potential value of growth outside the People’s Republic.

May 24, 2014 12:34 UTC

Hacked eBay exposes itself to another attack

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By Richard Beales

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

EBay just exposed itself to another attack. Carl Icahn buried the hatchet with the online auctioneer’s board before it came out that records of 145 million customers got hacked. That means there’s an opening for another uppity investor to pressure eBay’s chief executive and directors.

May 13, 2014 13:32 UTC

LSE’s tilt at Russell is a long shot

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By Robert Cole

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

Diversification might as well be Xavier Rolet’s middle name. The chief executive of the London Stock Exchange has bought into clearing, with the purchase of LCH.Clearnet. He was an unsuccessful suitor for the London Metal Exchange. He missed out on a merger with TMX, the Canadian exchange, and one chance to grow in North America. The newly-revealed ambition to take control of Russell, the U.S. index compiler and asset manager, represents another attempt to branch out.

May 9, 2014 18:29 UTC

Apple shows another symptom of mid-life crisis

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Apple is showing another symptom of a mid-life crisis. It hasn’t got a tattoo or hooked up with a Pilates instructor. But the iPhone inventor’s interest in headphone maker Beats Electronics suggests it feels the need to open its wallet in order to keep up with the cool kids.