Dec 12, 2013 19:16 UTC

Ziggo has ways to put pressure on Liberty

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

Ziggo has opened the door to John Malone’s Liberty Global. A few weeks after rebuffing an approach, the Dutch cable group has confirmed takeover talks with its larger rival. Any deal would be both big and logical, since it and Liberty’s UPC unit dominate the local market. Now Ziggo has conceded a willingness to sell to its dominant shareholder, the task is to get full value from a weak position.

Dec 11, 2013 16:29 UTC

Fading reform hopes take gun shares with them

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

Fading reform hopes should take the shares of gunmakers with them.

Such a turn of events would reverse an extraordinary run for the industry. The U.S. government collected $6 billion of excise taxes on gun and ammunition purchases in 2012, more than twice the typical amount in the years to 2007. This year is on pace to generate the biggest sum ever. The number of federal background checks, a good indicator of future gun purchases, also should easily exceed 20 million in 2013, a record.

Dec 10, 2013 20:34 UTC

Time Warner Cable could play a little Pac-Man

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Time Warner Cable could play a little Pac-Man. Being acquired by smaller rival Charter Communications, a plan that has been doing the rounds, would create a highly indebted cable giant with an enterprise value of over $100 billion.

Dec 10, 2013 18:22 UTC

GM navigates smart route to CEO succession

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

 

General Motors has navigated a smart route to succession. Dan Akerson, who has run the company since mid-2010, is stepping down in January. Replacing him as chief executive is Mary Barra, who despite 33 years of service at the automaker, has mostly sidestepped the taint of pre-bankruptcy failures. GM, freshly liberated from the U.S. government on Tuesday, also appointed an independent chairman for good governance measure.

Dec 9, 2013 20:19 UTC

Food deal shows how investors eat up synergies

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

Sysco’s acquisition of US Foods shows how investors are eating up synergies. The $3.5 billion purchase, revealed on Monday, received a rapturous reception, with the buyer’s market valuation surging by as much as a quarter – or $5 billion – before giving up some gains. Hefty cost cuts help the merger math.

Dec 6, 2013 19:49 UTC

Deutsche ditch divines commoditized commodities

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

Deutsche Bank’s decision to ditch commodities portends just how commoditized the business may be. The German lender is quitting energy, agriculture, base metals and dry bulk trading. That should free up capital without hurting results. And while it ought to ease the pain from a deep swoon in commodities, profits remain elusive for almost all banks involved.

Dec 5, 2013 15:35 UTC

Blackstone stock tells similar tale to Hilton’s

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

It has been a long, slow climb for Blackstone’s stock. After six and a half years, the buyout firm’s publicly traded units are finally within spitting distance of their $31 debut. The arduous recovery happens to coincide with an upcoming profitable float of Hilton Worldwide, the nearly $27 billion hotel acquisition Blackstone originally struck around the same time. While the results diverge for investors, both speak to private equity’s timing nous.

Dec 5, 2013 07:14 UTC

Qantas needs help to escape financial nosedive

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By Una Galani

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

Qantas needs help to escape from its financial nosedive. The Australia carrier’s shares plunged 11 percent after it warned that it will report a pre-tax loss of up to A$300 million ($225 million) in the first six months of the year. Part of the problem is that the airline is a political hybrid, restricted from raising foreign capital but without the support openly state-backed rivals enjoy.

Dec 4, 2013 20:39 UTC

Libor losers become EU cartel winners

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By Dominic Elliott and George Hay
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The rewards of early settlement in the Libor scandal are becoming more obvious. The first banks to settle with financial agencies over allegations of rate-rigging, Barclays and UBS, have just saved $930 million and $3.4 billion respectively in trust-busting fines after blowing the whistle on other miscreants to the European Commission. Their lenient treatment highlights the risks in delaying settlements, and the potentially extreme penalties when wrongdoing is categorised as anti-competitive.

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.