Sep 10, 2014 20:00 UTC

Apple cooks up recipe to empty pockets and wallets

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By Robert Cyran

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

Apple has cooked up a recipe for emptying pockets and wallets. In addition to unveiling two new smartphones, the tech giant has combined a fingerprint sensor and an overlooked app into an iPhone payment system that looks secure and easy to use. A new watch lacks obvious appeal but has potential to replace car keys and other pocket detritus. Higher profits may be the cherry on top.

Sep 10, 2014 13:55 UTC

Botin’s swashbuckling hid a conservative streak

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Emilio Botin transformed Santander from regional Spanish lender into global giant. He was a merger mastermind who usually got the upper hand. With slicked-back hair and red tie, he flew in a private jet, conferring with presidents and prime ministers as easily as bankers and chief executives. Yet unlike many of his peers during European banking’s boom years, Botin also had a cautious streak. It is that, rather than his swashbuckling style, which allowed him to keep his grip on Santander until his death at the age of 79.

Sep 9, 2014 05:56 UTC

China smartphones set to pick off global giants

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Not everyone is able to spend $500 on a smartphone. For those lacking funds or wanting better value for money, China’s handset makers increasingly appeal. Today, most of their sales are domestic. Yet low costs are helping them dial in new emerging market customers.’

Sep 8, 2014 18:34 UTC

RBS puts lipstick on Citizens for $14 bln IPO

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By Antony Currie

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

Royal Bank of Scotland is applying a fair amount of lipstick to its U.S. unit ahead of a planned initial public offering. Citizens Financial is worth up to $14 billion, based on the price range of $23 to $25 a share set on Sept. 8. Like the leaders of its home nation, RBS is painting too pretty a picture of life after independence.

Sep 5, 2014 18:50 UTC

Anarchical Vice Media makes orthodoxy a virtue

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Vice Media likes to seem anarchic, but it is making a virtue of some industry orthodoxies. The Brooklyn-based bad boy of news and entertainment is now valued at $2.5 billion. The sources of Vice’s money and the way it was raised, though, suggest old-school traits alongside the iconoclasm.

A gonzo style of journalism has enabled Vice to get younger people interested in global current events. The draws include stunts such as dispatching retired basketball misfit Dennis Rodman to North Korea as well as documentary-format reports on Ukraine and Syria. Vice’s fashion site includes headlines like “This stab-proof clothing aims to keep Medellin safe,” while its foodie endeavor explains how “Gaza’s Christians are brewing illegal wine in defiance of Hamas.”

Sep 4, 2014 18:26 UTC

LendingClub IPO mixes disruption with confusion

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By Kevin Allison and Daniel Indiviglio

The authors are Breakingviews columnists. The views they express are their own. 

LendingClub is positioning itself as one of the biggest challengers to American banks. The company is growing quickly, has backing from the likes of Google and lists former Morgan Stanley boss John Mack and ex-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers among its directors. It’s also planning an initial public offering. But there are reasons to be cautious.

Sep 3, 2014 14:14 UTC
carolryan

LVMH, Hermes in five-year handbag peace

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By Carol Ryan

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

Bernard Arnault has conceded defeat. The LVMH chairman and controlling owner has agreed to distribute the stake he built up four years ago in rival Hermes to the shareholders of his luxury and drinks conglomerate. That’s an uncharacteristic retreat for the man dubbed “the wolf in cashmere.”

Sep 3, 2014 08:22 UTC
Breakingviews Columnists

E-book: Alibaba and the twelve digits

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By Breakingviews columnists

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

 

China’s e-commerce colossus is hitting the road for a $100-billion-plus IPO. But a spectacular growth story comes with quirks, including bizarre governance and founder Jack Ma’s penchant for offbeat deals. Breakingviews offers a punchy primer on the risks and rewards.

Read the e-book online (English)

Download the PDF (English)

Download the PDF (Chinese)

Sep 3, 2014 08:17 UTC

Tianhe fraud claims hit at China free-rider effect

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By John Foley

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

Fraud allegations and China are seemingly inseparable. Tianhe Chemicals, an industrial group that listed in Hong Kong less than three months ago, is under fire from a group alleging it cooked its books. This challenges not just the company’s integrity, but investors’ belief that when big names have pored over an initial public offering, they don’t have to.

Sep 2, 2014 14:46 UTC

Why Citigroup would be better in bits

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By Rob Cox

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

Nine years ago, Breakingviews proposed an “extreme idea” to Citigroup’s then-leader Charles Prince. The $240 billion New York bank’s market capitalization was lower than the worth of its parts valued separately. By splitting into three separate units, the idea was, Prince could hand shareholders an extra $50 billion or so, the equivalent of one entire U.S. Bancorp at the time.

As it turned out, Citi had bigger concerns ahead. The housing crash exposed spectacular losses, wiping out capital and necessitating a government bailout. Prince was sent dancing onto the golf course. With the crisis now fairly distant in the rear-view mirror, however, it’s time for current Chief Executive Michael Corbat to revisit the case for a breakup.