Sep 3, 2014 14:14 UTC

LVMH, Hermes in five-year handbag peace


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


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


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


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.

Sep 2, 2014 07:20 UTC

Six steps to Alibaba’s twelve-figure valuation


By Peter Thal Larsen 

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

How do you value a tech company? What about a dominant, fast-growing, profitable tech company with no peers that operates in an opaque economy? Fund managers need to decide as Alibaba kicks off the roadshow for its long-awaited initial public offering. Breakingviews offers a six-step guide to sizing up China’s biggest e-commerce group.


I would not say Alibaba is out. It’s a brand has several sub brands underneath, such as Taobao, Tianmao, and probably more. Taobao targets small business vendors, Tianmao is for Brands. What was the number of cash flow Taobao + Tianmao made within 24 hrs on the 11th of last November? 6 billion dollars. It’s a win win for both sides, for example brand Jack Jones made 2 million dollars within just one hour, that’s just insane. It’s hard to believe a giant thing like this is out when there’s nothing replaceable.

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Aug 29, 2014 16:46 UTC

Square swipes a hollow-looking $6 bln valuation


By Robert Cyran

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

Square is starting to look oddly hollow. The payments company set up and run by Jack Dorsey is set to raise $200 million in new funding, according to Bloomberg. That would value the company at $6 billion. While big, it’s a deflated figure, considering Square’s former hype, the small amount raised, and tech rivals’ ease securing higher valuations.

Square’s credit card readers for smartphones and tablets are easily spotted in the wilds of flea markets and coffee shops. They are easy to use, and the 2.75 percent they charge per swipe is relatively appealing for small transactions. Last year the company racked up more than $500 million in revenue.

Aug 29, 2014 14:26 UTC

Agenda for Tesco CEO: price cuts, board and UK


By Robert Cole

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

Tesco needs to reduce, rebuild and review. Friday saw a jumbo profit alert from the UK grocer, plus a big cut to the interim dividend and a lowered capex budget. The good news was that the new chief executive is to arrive a month earlier than originally envisaged. This kitchen-sinking will make life easier for Dave Lewis when he starts on Sept. 1. But his trolley is still loaded high with problems.

Aug 27, 2014 20:29 UTC

Snapchat’s valuation soars on tech-land pixie dust


By Robert Cyran

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

Snapchat’s valuation is soaring on tech-land pixie dust. The disappearing-photo business has turned 100 million users, strong demand for chat services and the $20 million sale of a tiny equity stake into a $10 billion price tag. Trouble is, the company lacks revenue – and none is in sight. It’s a reminder that Silicon Valley dreams often trump real economics.

Aug 27, 2014 12:09 UTC

Tesco should cut its dividend


By Robert Cole

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

Shareholders ultimately lose out when too-high payouts prevent companies from responding well to problems. Right now, Tesco needs all the financial flexibility it can muster. Its current dividend is dangerously constricting.

Aug 27, 2014 07:27 UTC

Aggressive M&A puts focus on Thai tycoon’s empire


By Una Galani

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

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s appetite for deals has put his sprawling empire in focus. The Thai drinks-to-property tycoon is eyeing more acquisitions on top of the $3.3 billion his companies have spent this year. Investors have already given a poor reception to his most recent deals. A pick’n’mix approach to public markets may explain some of their doubts.