Mar 27, 2014 07:37 UTC

CITIC’s $41 bln mega-merger needs fancy footwork

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By Una Galani

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

CITIC’s $41 billion mega-merger will need some fancy footwork. The Chinese state-owned conglomerate wants to reverse most of its assets, which include stakes in banks, brokerages and resources, into Hong-Kong listed subsidiary CITIC Pacific. There’s something in it for both sides, but the deal will require creativity to ensure it looks good financially for both the Chinese state, and CITIC Pacific’s minority shareholders.

Mar 26, 2014 14:53 UTC

Roman corporate governance purge could backfire

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By Neil Unmack

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

Rome’s corporate governance purge could backfire. The Italian Treasury wants state-controlled companies to force anyone under criminal investigation for financial crimes off boards of directors. The intention is laudable, but the plan is ill-conceived.

Mar 26, 2014 06:10 UTC

Zuckerberg grabs at alternate financial reality

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By Richard Beales

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

Mark Zuckerberg is liking a lot of deals. Right after spending $19 billion on WhatsApp, the Facebook founder is splashing out $2 billion – and possibly more – in cash and stock on a virtual reality newcomer, Oculus VR. It’s arguably a riskier punt than the messaging app. Both deals also suggest a buy, not build, approach.

Mar 25, 2014 14:27 UTC

Berlin’s housing boom has lessons for London

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Berlin is becoming a bit more Londonesque. While the buses in Germany’s capital are still yellow, not red, and the locals remain grumpy, the behaviour of housing prices has a British accent. According to property website ImmoWelt.de, asking prices for one-bedroom flats have risen 53 percent in three years. The Bundesbank has warned that property prices are roughly a quarter higher than fundamentals justify. But Berlin’s boom is much less likely to last than London’s.

Mar 25, 2014 08:15 UTC

Rich world exports its way to trouble

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Rich nations are exporting their way to trouble. For eight straight quarters, advanced economies have exported more goods and services than they have imported, suggesting that as a group they are free-riding on world demand, most of which has come from emerging markets. But this growth strategy is both selfish and self-defeating.

Mar 24, 2014 04:42 UTC

Li Ka-shing de-risks with $6 bln Temasek sale

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By Una Galani

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

Li Ka-shing is de-risking. The Hong Kong tycoon has ditched plans to list his retail division AS Watson in favour of selling a 24.95 percent stake to Temasek for $5.7 billion. The deal crystallises a decent valuation for Li without the uncertainties of an initial public offering (IPO). For the Singaporean state fund, it’s a bold bet on consumer growth and private investments.

Mar 21, 2014 18:29 UTC

Can regulating prostitution like a business work?

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

Would regulating prostitution like a business be a good idea? A landmark study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice raises that age-old, vexing question. What emerges from the analysis of the commercial sex trade in eight American cities is an industry with mostly willing buyer/willing seller transactions, albeit with highly coercive management – suggesting that though prostitution may always be immoral it might be less damaging if legal.

Mar 21, 2014 18:10 UTC

Review: A world of reasons for the dollar to crash

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

In “The Death of Money,” author James Rickards sees a world of reasons for the dollar to crash and the world monetary system to collapse. The greenback does indeed have dangerous adversaries, from China to al Qaeda. However, Rickards lets the Federal Reserve and budget deficits off too lightly as generators of trouble, and his solutions would cause yet more havoc.

Mar 21, 2014 13:14 UTC

Obama’s new sanctions aim to expose crony Putinism

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

 

Barack Obama is hitting Vladimir Putin where it hurts – his inner circle. New U.S. sanctions against a Russian bank and a host of tycoons are ostensibly just an escalated response to the annexation of Crimea. But they also allege a link between the Kremlin boss and Gunvor, a secretive Swiss oil trader. Washington seems determined to reveal how Putin and his comrades have amassed immense personal wealth at public expense.

Mar 21, 2014 06:13 UTC

Li & Fung revival depends on more than split

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Li & Fung has embraced financial engineering. The Hong Kong trading house, which grew to prominence by helping Western companies find cheap factories in Asia, has announced plans to spin off its branding arm into a separate unit. Though investors welcomed the news, any sustained re-rating requires both bits of the company to demonstrate they can deliver organic growth.