Mar 27, 2014 18:18 UTC

Baxter puts conscious uncoupling on pharma radar

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

Baxter International has put conscious uncoupling on pharma’s radar. The $40 billion healthcare giant is separating its biotech and medical products units. Baxter’s spinoff history suggests this latest move will create value for shareholders. This, and the success of Pfizer’s and Abbott’s recent splits, will encourage other pharma giants to follow.

Mar 26, 2014 17:20 UTC

Time for Sheryl Sandberg to lean out of Facebook

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

The time has come for Sheryl Sandberg to lean out of Facebook. Not because the social network’s chief operating officer has done a poor job – quite the contrary. She was the adult supervisor as Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room creation became a $165 billion enterprise. The founder is now doing his own thing, as his latest acquisition shows. For Sandberg, that makes him more of a liability.

COMMENT

Definitely agree. Sheryl Sandberg has an absolutely stellar record of achievement and her unique background is unmatched anywhere else. Certainly, the decision is up to her, but with Mark Zuckerberg taking the reins at Facebook it might be best for her to search out the next up-and-coming technology. A struggling startup would be unbelievably lucky to have her on their team.

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Mar 26, 2014 14:53 UTC

Roman corporate governance purge could backfire

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By Neil Unmack

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

Rome’s corporate governance purge could backfire. The Italian Treasury wants state-controlled companies to force anyone under criminal investigation for financial crimes off boards of directors. The intention is laudable, but the plan is ill-conceived.

Mar 26, 2014 06:10 UTC

Zuckerberg grabs at alternate financial reality

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By Richard Beales

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

Mark Zuckerberg is liking a lot of deals. Right after spending $19 billion on WhatsApp, the Facebook founder is splashing out $2 billion – and possibly more – in cash and stock on a virtual reality newcomer, Oculus VR. It’s arguably a riskier punt than the messaging app. Both deals also suggest a buy, not build, approach.

Mar 25, 2014 18:16 UTC

Dimon deputy epitomizes succession of all sorts

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

Jamie Dimon’s loss of a top deputy on Tuesday epitomizes succession issues of all sorts. Key lieutenant Mike Cavanagh has given up a shot at following his mentor atop JPMorgan for one helping run private equity firm Carlyle Group. The move shakes up leadership plans for both companies and also underscores a bigger shift in finance.

Mar 25, 2014 18:02 UTC

Activists crash dealmaker party

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

Activists are crashing the dealmaker party. Shareholder lawsuits, cross-border mergers and defender-in-chief Marty Lipton will play supporting roles at the annual New Orleans confab for M&A attorneys and bankers. Aggressive investors shaking dozy boards are this year’s headliners. Their increasing presence at the gathering reinforces a growing power.

Mar 24, 2014 17:41 UTC

Pricey Nets LBO gives banks big payment to process

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

Private equity has prospered investing in essential modern infrastructure like cable networks. The $3 billion-plus sale of Nets in Denmark shows buyout firms are just as keen to buy into the world’s financial plumbing. Advent International and Bain Capital already own WorldPay, a big payments processor which Royal Bank of Scotland sold as penance for receiving state aid. Now the duo have partnered with Danish pension giant ATP to buy Nets, WorldPay’s Nordic equivalent.

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 21, 2014 18:39 UTC

Bouygues’s latest SFR offer may still fall short

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By Quentin Webb

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

Bouygues’s latest pitch for SFR may still fall short. The French building, TV and telecoms group has made a new offer for Vivendi’s mobile unit, with 1.85 billion euros more cash and heavyweight backers. That puts extra pressure on preferred bidder Patrick Drahi, soon after he began three weeks of exclusive talks to buy France’s no. 2 wireless carrier. But Bouygues still poses greater antitrust risks. It may need to offer more equity in the combined vehicle – and a big break fee.

Mar 21, 2014 06:13 UTC

Li & Fung revival depends on more than split

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Li & Fung has embraced financial engineering. The Hong Kong trading house, which grew to prominence by helping Western companies find cheap factories in Asia, has announced plans to spin off its branding arm into a separate unit. Though investors welcomed the news, any sustained re-rating requires both bits of the company to demonstrate they can deliver organic growth.