Dec 4, 2013 13:11 UTC

Tesco’s mediocre plan may be as good as it gets

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By Robert Cole

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

Investors’ patience with Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket operator, is justifiably wearing thin. Shares in the group rose in early trading on Dec. 4, as the company published third quarter sales figures. But that was probably because the numbers were no worse than expected. The stock price slipped back later in the day. Over the last two years Tesco shares have fallen 16 percent while the FTSE 100 has risen 17 percent.

Dec 3, 2013 12:19 UTC

Versace’s valuation is as full-on as its outfits

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By Quentin Webb

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

Versace’s valuation looks as full-on as its outfits. The Italian fashion house, which is sizing up buyout firms and sovereign wealth outfits to fund a capital increase, reckons it is worth more than 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) and could triple in value in three years. There is real potential, because Versace is so behind industry trends. But a big price tag for a skimpy minority stake next to a powerful family? That’s a hard look to pull off.

Dec 2, 2013 19:54 UTC

Amazon’s drone promise is yet more jam tomorrow

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By Robert Cyran

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

Amazon is promising yet more jam tomorrow – this time from drone deliveries. Jeff Bezos, the online retailer’s chief executive, expects to be able to use unmanned aircraft to deliver small packages within a few years. It’s a striking vision, but it seems as overly optimistic as investors’ expectations of the company overall. Amazon’s market value has ballooned to $180 billion despite big profits always hovering in the future.

Nov 29, 2013 18:26 UTC

Pearson makes a tidy turn in the merger market

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

Pearson has made a tidy turn in the merger market. The British publisher, now mainly focused on education, is selling Mergermarket to private equity firm BC Partners for substantially more than it paid for the financial news and data outfit in 2006.

Nov 29, 2013 12:28 UTC

Review: A no-nonsense recipe for retail success

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By George Hay

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

Malcolm Walker has a no-nonsense recipe for retail success. While larger supermarkets have expanded upmarket, overseas, and away from food, he’s made a fortune selling cheap frozen dinners to hard-up Britons through his Iceland Foods chain. It’s all about meeting customer demand, controlling costs, and staying focused, his autobiography shows. Still, Walker’s travails down the years are a reminder how easily things can go wrong in the food business.

Nov 29, 2013 05:37 UTC

Australia too mealy-mouthed on protectionism

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By John Foley

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

Australia is being mealy mouthed about protectionism. Treasurer Joe Hockey blocked the A$3.4 billion ($3.1 billion) takeover of agricultural trader GrainCorp by U.S. rival ADM on Nov. 29, on the grounds that Australia’s grain market is only just getting used to competition, five years after the national wheat monopoly was disbanded. For Australia’s foreign investment prospects, the decision itself is less bad than the ambiguity over why it was made.

Nov 27, 2013 17:31 UTC

Give thanks for the pope’s anti-free market views

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

Wall Street bigwigs often lean economically right and socially left. In what looks like a manifesto for his papacy, Pope Francis takes the opposite stance. He might not, however, object to the relatively uncommercialized American Thanksgiving holiday. And over their turkey on Thursday, the rich might ponder a financial system that the pope says “rules rather than serves.”

Nov 27, 2013 15:20 UTC

Royal Mail risks are as real as ever

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By Robert Cole

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

Royal Mail has cleared its first hurdle as a public company. But deep-seated challenges remain, and the UK postal firm’s current market value looks too rich.

Nov 26, 2013 17:45 UTC

U.S. trustbusting would make a great monopoly

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

America’s two federal trustbusting agencies would make a great monopoly. The U.S. Justice Department is beating the pants off its rival, the Federal Trade Commission, with pushback on headline-grabbing deals. The FTC has meanwhile scored big points protecting consumers. Leaving antitrust to DoJ would reduce costs and make both agencies more effective.

Nov 25, 2013 20:43 UTC

Chrysler IPO delay edges Fiat into driver’s seat

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

Fiat may have slipped into the driver’s seat. An autoworkers fund that owns 41.5 percent of Chrysler has been pushing for an initial public offering of the company as part of talks with its Italian partner. Chrysler’s board has now decided to delay the stock sale until next year, suggesting Fiat’s negotiating position has improved.