Mar 21, 2014 18:39 UTC

Bouygues’s latest SFR offer may still fall short

Photo

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

Photo

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.

Mar 20, 2014 16:57 UTC

Valuing Tencent’s chat app remains an act of faith

Photo

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

Putting a value on WeChat remains an act of faith. Internet giant Tencent has shed some light on its popular messaging and social media service. But sparse details on costs and regulatory risks make future growth and earnings potential hard to pin down. Valuations are still largely based on hope.

Mar 20, 2014 13:04 UTC

Euro zone periphery trade is running out of gas

Photo

By Neil Unmack and Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

The euro zone periphery trade is running out of gas. Investors keen on a recovery story have been piling into assets in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece for over 18 months now. But some periphery assets are looking expensive. Further gains need two tricky conditions to be satisfied.

Mar 20, 2014 10:55 UTC

JPMorgan commodities sale shows trading’s opacity

Photo

By Kevin Allison and Antony Currie

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

JPMorgan’s $3.5 billion sale of its physical commodities business is a perfect example of just how opaque trading is. The bank is selling what is probably a low-return business with regulatory headaches to Mercuria, a privately held firm that does not have to make its financials public. The dearth of details does make it hard to judge, but applying some statistics from both the industry and some rivals suggests Mercuria may be paying top whack.

Mar 19, 2014 06:35 UTC

Japan stock market selloff is a temporary setback

Photo

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Japan’s stock market has suffered a temporary setback. The country’s equity indices have dropped more than 10 percent this year in local currency terms. With the central bank on standby for more easing, however, Japanese stocks should benefit from home support.

Mar 18, 2014 16:25 UTC

A credible strategy for Barclays’ investment bank

Photo

By Dominic Elliott
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinion expressed is his own.

Barclays’ Transform plan needs urgent transformation. Chief Executive Antony Jenkins’ year-old strategy to revamp the UK lender is already struggling. First, the Bank of England jacked up gross equity-to-assets requirements last summer, necessitating a scrambled 5.8 billion pound rights issue and a one-year delay to the bank’s 12 percent return-on-equity target. Then Jenkins reneged on an assumed policy of reining in pay – and justified it with a decidedly pre-crunch declaration of needing to pay up to retain talent.

Mar 17, 2014 15:15 UTC

Market adjustment is not over yet

Photo

By Ian Campbell

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

The golden fear gauge is rising. Gold is up to a six-month high of $1,383 an ounce. A more serious equity and commodity meltdown threatens as markets grow more uneasy about Ukraine, China, emerging economies and global growth. Gold may go a bit higher still – but its rally too may soon prove vulnerable.

Mar 17, 2014 06:32 UTC

Weibo IPO sets bar low for Alibaba

Photo

By John Foley 

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

Imagine the riskiest possible share offering. It would be a new, unprofitable company with rapid and uncertain growth in an emerging market. One whose customers are fickle, which lives under the constant threat of being snuffed out by regulators, and where external shareholders are dominated by insiders. The listing of Sina Weibo fits the bill. The Twitter-like microblog has also set a low bar for the upcoming market debut of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Mar 14, 2014 16:14 UTC

Lego clan beats Goldman in $1.5 bln ISS float

Photo

By Quentin Webb

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

Lego has trumped Goldman Sachs in the $1.5 billion flotation of cleaning giant ISS. The Danish toymaker’s owners, the Kirk Kristiansen family, made a minority investment in the group in 2012 to help cut its debt. ISS’s successful stock-market debut has brought a sparkling return for the Lego latecomers, leaving owners EQT and Goldman in the dust.