Apr 17, 2014 20:44 UTC

Blackstone leaves a trail of money to follow

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Blackstone is leaving quite the trail of money to follow. The buyout firm led by Steve Schwarzman generated record earnings in the first quarter, in stark contrast to the slog happening on Wall Street. It’s the latest sign of a power shift from banks to shadow banks, broadly defined. Having confined big lenders, watchdogs could pick up the scent on Blackstone and its ilk.

Mar 28, 2014 18:20 UTC

Boards’ defender-in-chief keeps fighting last war

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By Reynolds Holding

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

Corporate boards’ defender-in-chief keeps fighting the last war. Lawyer Marty Lipton proved again at the New Orleans M&A confab that he can give as good as he gets. But prior panelists’ emphasis on improving governance and shareholder value made his swipes at activists seem dated. The legal lion’s roars are sounding more stubborn than persuasive.

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 14, 2014 16:14 UTC

Lego clan beats Goldman in $1.5 bln ISS float

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By Quentin Webb

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

Lego has trumped Goldman Sachs in the $1.5 billion flotation of cleaning giant ISS. The Danish toymaker’s owners, the Kirk Kristiansen family, made a minority investment in the group in 2012 to help cut its debt. ISS’s successful stock-market debut has brought a sparkling return for the Lego latecomers, leaving owners EQT and Goldman in the dust.

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.

Dec 24, 2013 18:05 UTC

U.S. housing recovery could run out of steam

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

The U.S. housing recovery could run out of steam in 2014. Banks are likely to tighten lending standards once new rules come into place. Rising interest rates may drive down home loan volume, too. Cash purchases by investors could set a floor for house prices, but they may not be enough to prevent a major slowdown.

Dec 24, 2013 12:25 UTC

Buzzword visionaries will rightsize the lexicon

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By Quentin Webb

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

Do executive thought leaders need best-in-class jargon? Can only visionary C-suiters move the needle at the investor day or the Davos interactive panel? It appears embedded in the corporate DNA, but is a laser-like focus on buzzwords mission critical? Join Breakingviews, your end-to-end provider of financial commentary solutions, on a deep dive.

Dec 11, 2013 06:43 UTC

Private equity taps happy hour at Oriental Brewery

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By Una Galani

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

Oriental Brewery may produce a happy hour for its private equity investors. Belgium’s Anheuser-Busch InBev has started discussions over buying back the South Korean brewer, which it sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 2009 for $1.8 billion. A back-of-the-beer mat calculation suggests that would earn OB’s private equity backers a 34 percent annualized return.

Dec 3, 2013 12:19 UTC

Versace’s valuation is as full-on as its outfits

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By Quentin Webb

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

Versace’s valuation looks as full-on as its outfits. The Italian fashion house, which is sizing up buyout firms and sovereign wealth outfits to fund a capital increase, reckons it is worth more than 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) and could triple in value in three years. There is real potential, because Versace is so behind industry trends. But a big price tag for a skimpy minority stake next to a powerful family? That’s a hard look to pull off.

Oct 23, 2013 04:13 UTC

Li Ka-shing still has what investors want

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By Una Galani

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

Li Ka-shing may be an octogenarian but he still knows when to buy and sell. An analysis of 16 listed parts of the Hong Kong tycoon’s telecoms-to-energy empire, with a combined market capitalization of more than $170 billion, shows a mixed record of delivering shareholder returns. Yet Li’s flagship holding companies have matched or beaten the market over the past two and five years. For investors, it pays to invest as close as possible to the man himself.