Breakingviews

Blackstone brandishes its long-term bona fides

April 17, 2015

Nearly eight years after going public, the buyout shop is taking a victory lap. Its shares finally trade noticeably above the IPO price, and Q1 results suggest Blackstone’s model is working. Even so, owners of the firm’s equity may prove more fickle than investors in its funds.

NY judge gives 1970s sitcom a Silicon Valley spin

April 2, 2015

A “Three’s Company” parody didn’t breach rights to the TV hit, despite similarities. Like rulings on Google Books and Aereo’s video streaming, the verdict reflects Big Apple legal thinking that ideas are for sharing. It’s a philosophy tech firms might want more courts to follow.

April 1 jokes expose greater fools of finance

April 2, 2015

A Tesla prank involving a fake new product caused its shares to twitch. Meanwhile, Tinder for Uber seemed all too credible in a Silicon Valley littered with this-for-that business models. When investors can be easily duped, it’s a sign markets are high on hype and distortions.

Rob Cox: Eat or be eaten is real Kraft calculus

March 31, 2015

It had a chance to buy Heinz two years ago. Instead of securing more of the combined value for itself, it’s now ceding control and renting its balance sheet. While selling to Warren Buffett gives the board cover, it raises questions about the sort of managers shareholders want.

Silicon Valley trials start as sexism lawsuit ends

March 29, 2015

Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins beat gender discrimination allegations, but the likes of Facebook and Twitter face similar lawsuits. The court of public opinion also has yet to deliver its verdict. Scrutiny of how the tech world treats women is just getting under way.

Buffett-3G juggernaut can keep on truckin’

March 26, 2015

Kraft Heinz is the third time the Sage of Omaha and the trio behind AB InBev have joined forces, after swoops on the ketchup maker and Tim Hortons. The partners’ patience, financial firepower and industry experience give them big advantages. Bigger deals may lie down the road.

Kraft investors bet Heinz can refill secret sauce

March 25, 2015

The Velveeta cheese maker’s stock jumped a third – making the company worth nearly $50 bln – on news of its sale to the ketchup giant, which 3G Capital and Warren Buffett took private in 2013. The math works if Heinz can repeat its margin magic and leap hurdles to scaling Kraft.

Rob Cox: Silicon Valley’s boom-boom room moment

March 3, 2015

These days the talk of the geek enclave isn’t the latest Mary Meeker report or mega-IPO but complex legal complaints alleging naughty behavior by leading venture capitalists. The lawsuits are the latest reminder that the tech industry’s moral exceptionalism is undeserved.

Fresh flames rise from Sealy’s ever-burning bed

By Stephanie Rogan
February 17, 2015

Uppity investor H Partners, alleging serial underperformance and stale private equity directors, wants Tempur Sealy’s CEO fired and a seat on the board. The company and the mattress industry have a torturous financial history. It probably means where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Dick’s buyout has financially sporting chance

January 8, 2015

The $6 bln U.S. golf-to-guns vendor is mulling a sale to private equity. Low debt at Dick’s Sporting Goods means even with a chunky premium, attractive returns look possible. It would, however, require healthy growth when stiff online competition is challenging many retailers.