Jan 21, 2014 14:59 UTC

Unilever washes off emerging-market uncertainties

Photo

By Robert Cole

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

Emerging-market uncertainties are washing off Unilever. Currencies are working against it: groupwide earnings were knocked by 7 percent thanks to exchange-rate swings across the globe. But forex aside, the trends in developing economies remain firmly positive. The declines in developed markets’ revenues and profits are more worrying.

Jan 17, 2014 19:16 UTC

Citigroup needs to channel boardroom aggression

Photo

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

Citigroup boss Mike Corbat needs to channel some of the aggression from his boardroom. At $2.6 billion, the mega-bank is alone falling short of estimates among peers who have reported fourth-quarter earnings so far. It leaves Citi with a weak return on equity and market valuation. Corbat, who rose to power by way of a harsh coup, can’t rely on cost cuts. He’ll have to scrap for revenue.

Jan 16, 2014 17:44 UTC

Googleization of Yahoo hits pricey speed bump

Photo

By Richard Beales and Robert Cyran
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The Googleization of Yahoo has hit a pricey speed bump. Chief Executive Marissa Mayer has fired the chief operating officer she lured from her former employer, costing Yahoo as much as $60 million for Henrique de Castro’s 15 months on the job. She may have made the right call, but it’s a reminder that a sprinkling of Googledust won’t on its own get Yahoo growing again.

Jan 16, 2014 14:58 UTC

Deutsche is wasting its Libor crisis

Photo

By Dominic Elliott and Olaf Storbeck

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

Deutsche Bank is wasting a crisis. In September 2012, newly appointed co-Chief Executives Juergen Fitschen and Anshu Jain said the German lender would be at the forefront of cultural change in the banking industry. That goal keeps moving away from them.

Jan 15, 2014 17:29 UTC

GM’s dividend hits right spot on multiple levels

Photo

By Antony Currie

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

General Motors is hitting the right spot on several levels with its return to paying a common stock dividend. The $1.7 billion annual payout looks punchy at some 30 percent of what analysts reckon the company’s net income will be for 2013. Ford Motor, after all, restarted its shareholder payouts at a more cautious 10 percent of profit just over two years ago and only last week took it up to around a third. But GM looks positioned to handle it.

Jan 14, 2014 17:02 UTC

Google raises temperature on “internet of things”

Photo

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

Google has turned up the temperature on the so-called “internet of things.” The search giant’s decision to pay $3.2 billion for Nest Labs, a maker of smart thermostats, signals a shift in Silicon Valley’s arc of disruption. Sending data to people on the go looks rather ho-hum next to a future where consumers communicate with, and control, their products remotely.

Jan 14, 2014 12:34 UTC
Edward Hadas

Shorter-hour memos won’t cure sick bank cultures

Photo

By Edward Hadas

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

The big investment banks are sending out virtuous memos on working hours. Bank of America says junior employees need at least four weekend days off a month. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are also worried about the bad effects of work weeks that often stretch to 100 hours. Such memos are better than nothing, but they cannot cure these institutions’ sick cultures.

Jan 13, 2014 22:57 UTC

Suntory lives up to motto with $16 bln Beam bid

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

For a Japanese corporation, Suntory Holdings has an especially aggressive corporate slogan: “Yatte Minahare,” which roughly translates as “Go For It.” That sums up Suntory’s willingness to pay $16 billion, or a hefty 20 times EBITDA, for the U.S. distiller of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and other tipples. That number won’t be lost in translation for Diageo, Pernod Ricard or others who might also covet Beam.

Jan 13, 2014 06:25 UTC

Hong Kong power IPO less generous than it looks

Photo

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Li Ka-shing is betting that a generous dividend will lure investors into the spin-off of his Hong Kong power utility. The tycoon has lowered the price range for HK Electric to ensure buyers of the investment trust get a yield of more than 6 percent. But the possibility of market-wide higher interest rates makes that look less than electrifying.

Jan 9, 2014 21:12 UTC

Chris Christie grapples with his inner Jamie Dimon

Photo

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

Jamie Dimon’s tale of woe is proving an uncanny inspiration to the governor of the U.S. state of New Jersey. Chris Christie, who is also considered an early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, followed his own “tempest in a teapot” moment with a mea culpa on Thursday for his team’s behavior over a traffic scandal. Christie even has an Ina Drew to blame. Like Dimon, the Garden State’s chief executive needs to own up to a culture he engendered.