Mar 17, 2015 13:57 UTC

Rob Cox: If only GE had an activist who cared

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General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt speaks at a news conference in New York in this October 21, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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

Almost nothing General Electric does registers with its stockholders. A big asset sale? Shares hardly budge. A mega-billion-dollar acquisition? Yawn. Aggressive shrinkage of its irritating financial business? Crickets. It seems investors no longer give a damn about the $254 billion company run by Jeff Immelt. If only GE had an activist who cared.

Mar 17, 2015 13:23 UTC

Clock ticks for Swatch in Apple Watch challenge

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By Carol Ryan

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

Just as the global watch market begins to put China’s growth-stunting corruption crackdown in the rearview mirror, Apple Watch appears on the horizon. Nick Hayek, the CEO of Swatch, doesn’t look concerned by the iPhone maker’s arrival on his patch. He should be.

Mar 16, 2015 18:16 UTC

Valeant’s $11 bln bid may have scored two knockouts

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By Robert Cyran

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

The sweetened $11 billion bid by Valeant Pharmaceuticals for Salix Pharmaceuticals may have scored two knockouts. By stumping up an extra 10 percent from its previous offer, the acquisitive drugmaker now backed by hedge fund boss Bill Ackman put rival suitor Endo International on the mat. The extra cash required, and the debt already on its balance sheet, leave Valeant’s business model looking wobbly.

Mar 13, 2015 19:17 UTC

BNY Mellon spat hints at activism getting crowded

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By Richard Beales

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

Bank of New York Mellon is under fire. Again. Marcato Capital Management is gunning for Gerald Hassell, chief executive of the $44 billion U.S. financial institution. That’s after Nelson Peltz’s Trian, armed with a similar critique, already secured a board seat. Activism is starting to look like a crowded strategy.

Mar 12, 2015 15:38 UTC

Rob Cox: Banks can now prep for even tougher exam

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By Rob Cox

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

After an arduous couple weeks of putting their institutions through a series of stringent stress tests, America’s top bankers might want to kick back and earn some money, perhaps even whistling to the possibility of higher interest rates. If only it were so easy. The only suitable tune would be Led Zeppelin’s bluesy stomp, “When the Levee Breaks.”

Mar 11, 2015 18:43 UTC

Winner of “Survivor: Mega-Banks” may be loser

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Staying power in the corner suite isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. With Brady Dougan stepping down as chief executive of Credit Suisse, it leaves JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo as the three American mega-banks with pre-2008 bosses. Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein and John Stumpf have overcome all manner of challenges but also are approaching a decade at the helm. One lesson from the crisis was the danger of sticking around too long.

Mar 11, 2015 18:10 UTC

Silicon Valley sexism case tests new M&M color

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By Reynolds Holding

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

Silicon Valley’s latest sexism trial is testing a new flavor of M&M’s. Venture capitalists at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers didn’t slip the button-sized chocolates down a woman’s blouse, behavior that prompted a $3.5 million judgment against a law firm’s Palo Alto office two decades ago. But they’re charged with unfairly blocking a female’s rise to the top. It’s a subtler, more toxic type of discrimination that suggests little has changed in the technology world’s ecosystem.

Mar 10, 2015 16:24 UTC

Credit Suisse finds CEO industry fears – but needs

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By Antony Currie

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

Credit Suisse has found the type of chief executive that the industry fears, but needs. Prudential boss Tidjane Thiam, who is to replace Brady Dougan in July, has no ties or loyalties to either investment or private banking. And he has a reputation for making bold moves – witness his bid for rival AIA in 2010. It’s a combination that should send shivers not just through Credit Suisse, but through rivals across the City and Wall Street, too.

Mar 10, 2015 11:11 UTC

Credit Suisse buys some insurance with Pru CEO

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

So much for the banking brain drain. Credit Suisse is hiring Tidjane Thiam from UK insurer Prudential to replace veteran CEO Brady Dougan, according to people familiar with the matter. It’s a surprising vote of confidence in the Swiss institution, and the industry.

Mar 6, 2015 19:12 UTC

Apple entry into DJIA is polish for an antique

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By Robert Cyran and Richard Beales

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

Apple’s entry into the Dow Jones industrial average is a bit like polishing an antique. The average share price of 30 stocks selected by committee will finally include the world’s biggest company in place of AT&T. It’s an overdue move for an outdated yardstick – one which, like landlines and checkbooks, lives on.