Apr 30, 2014 18:05 UTC

Energizer split leaves biggest problem intact

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

Energizer’s split into household and personal care companies should improve the $7 billion firm’s focus. It could also make one of the newly independent businesses an acquisition target. But the proposed transaction doesn’t address the batteries-to-tampons group’s bigger challenge: mustering more resources to take on industry gorilla Procter & Gamble.

Apr 30, 2014 14:38 UTC

BNP is latest pawn in U.S. too-big-to-jail saga

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By Dominic Elliott

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

BNP Paribas is the latest pawn in the United States’ fight to indict. France’s largest listed bank warned on April 30 that a future fine for violating U.S. sanctions on pariah countries could be “far in excess” of its $1.1 billion in provisions. But things could get nastier still.

Apr 30, 2014 13:55 UTC

WH Group flop shows pitfalls of crowded IPOs

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By Una Galani

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

WH Group’s flop shows the pitfalls of overcrowded initial public offerings. The Chinese pork producer hired a record 29 banks but still failed to sell its $1.3 billion listing to investors. That undermines the standard wisdom that more advisers mean less risk for issuers. For banks, it’s a reminder that they can share embarrassment as well as sought-after league table credit.

Apr 29, 2014 18:58 UTC

WH Group’s pulled pork IPO is least bad outcome

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

This little piggy isn’t going to the market after all. WH Group has scrapped its Hong Kong listing after investors turned their noses up at its valuation. The Chinese pork producer had already more than halved the size of the fundraising to as little as $1.3 billion. A delay which gives the company formerly known as Shuanghui more time to integrate its U.S. subsidiary Smithfield is probably the least bad outcome.

Apr 29, 2014 06:46 UTC

Pfizer tax arbitrage will hasten more deals

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By Robert Cyran

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

Pfizer’s $99 billion tax arbitrage bid will encourage copycats. The biggest charm of the U.S. drug giant’s offer for AstraZeneca of the UK lies in switching to a lower-tax domicile. The latest and largest such deal to hit the headlines raises the odds Congress will tighten rules – but not yet.

Apr 28, 2014 19:23 UTC

Silicon Valley exceptionalism only travels so far

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Airbnb isn’t finding New York very hospitable. The room-sharing site squared off in court last week with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over information he has subpoenaed about the many Airbnb customers his office suspects are breaking the Empire State’s laws. It’s a good example of what happens when tech entrepreneurs stray from their more accommodating Silicon Valley environs.

COMMENT

That sort of bluster won’t resonate much beyond the tech echo chamber. Airbnb’s ride-sharing cousin, Uber, is getting a cool reception in big cities like Miami, Berlin and Paris.
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Apr 28, 2014 15:36 UTC

Pfizer needs to do more to win AstraZeneca

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By Neil Unmack

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

Pfizer will need to pile on more pressure if it wants to buy AstraZeneca. The U.S. pharma group has confirmed that it made a $99 billion cash-and-stock approach for its UK peer in January, and is now renewing its suit. Astra Chief Executive Pascal Soriot may ultimately struggle to resist a takeover, but he ought to be able to extract a better proposal.

Apr 24, 2014 19:54 UTC

U.S. investors see yet another big acquirer as hip

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

 

U.S. investors are seeing yet another big acquirer as hip. Zimmer’s $13.4 billion deal for rival Biomet promises savings. But the maker of knee and other joint replacements and other medical devices is giving too much away for that to justify a 15 percent, or $2.3 billion, pop in its market value, before the stock slipped back slightly in Thursday morning trading. This time, enthusiastic share buyers are betting on growth.

Apr 24, 2014 17:33 UTC

Rob Cox: Coke takes fizz out of shareholder spring

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

America’s shareholder spring hit a cold patch. Just when it seemed investors were finally breaking through entrenched boards’ barricades, the owners of Coca-Cola turned to jelly, led shockingly by Warren Buffett. The failure to challenge a transfer of vast shareholder treasure to the top 5 percent of Coke’s soda jerks shows the agency problem is still alive and well in American capitalism.

Apr 24, 2014 13:52 UTC

GE/Alstom deal rumours test French reform drive

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By Pierre Briançon

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

In an ideal world where free people would roam across free markets, there would be much to like in a takeover of engineering group Alstom by General Electric. The French turbine and train maker, bailed out by taxpayer money 10 years ago, has been hit hard by the economic slump and Asian competition. Its future as a standalone company is in doubt. It needs cash that its shareholders – including Bouygues, with a 29 percent stake – are loath to fork out. Being folded into much larger GE would help it through bad times while some of its assets would fit nicely into the U.S. group.