Botin’s swashbuckling hid a conservative streak

September 10, 2014

He took many risks transforming a regional Spanish lender into a global giant. But it was his ruthless caution that enabled Santander to survive the ABN Amro wreck and economic catastrophe at home. That is the reason why Emilio Botin led the bank for as long as he did.

China smartphones set to pick off global giants

September 9, 2014

Home-grown manufacturers dominate in the People's Republic, shipping three in four phones in the quarter ending June. In the rest of the world, their share is less than 20 percent. Yet low costs are helping them dial in new emerging market customers. Global rivals face a fight. Read the view

RBS puts lipstick on Citizens for $14 bln IPO

September 8, 2014

The Scottish bank reckons cost cuts, rising interest rates, capital returns and more business will boost its poorly performing U.S. unit. Granted, all this might create decent enough returns to justify the price. But RBS is painting too pretty a picture of Citizens’ independence.

Anarchical Vice Media makes orthodoxy a virtue

September 5, 2014

The bad boy of news and entertainment is now worth $2.5 bln. Unlike some Silicon Valley upstarts, though, Vice sold more than a sliver of itself and raised real money: $500 mln. Disney, Hearst and Fox are among its backers. For all the iconoclasm, there are old-school traits.

LendingClub IPO mixes disruption with confusion

September 4, 2014

The peer-to-peer lender is growing fast, with fans ranging from John Mack to Larry Summers to Google. But it’s struggling to turn a profit, lacks some advantages of traditional banks and has yet to be tested by an economic slump. Investors need to know whether it’s fish or fowl.

LVMH, Hermes in five-year handbag peace

September 3, 2014

The French luxury leader will distribute to its shareholders the stake it stealthily built up in the Birkin bags maker. The founding family remains in control of Hermes. But Groupe Arnault will retain 8.5 pct of its capital, suggesting it is keeping its long-term options open.

Tianhe fraud claims hit at China free-rider effect

September 3, 2014

An anonymous group says the chemical group cooked its books. Yet the allegations would have been easy to verify by pre-IPO backers like Morgan Stanley. If proven, the charges will undermine the notion that big-name investors can provide insurance against China’s opaque practices.

E-book: Alibaba and the twelve digits

September 3, 2014

China’s e-commerce colossus is hitting the road for a $100-billion-plus IPO. But a spectacular growth story comes with quirks, including bizarre governance and founder Jack Ma’s penchant for offbeat deals. Breakingviews offers a punchy primer on the risks and rewards.

Why Citigroup would be better in bits

By Rob Cox
September 2, 2014

Nine years ago, Breakingviews proposed slicing the giant New York bank into smaller pieces to benefit shareholders. Post-crisis, the advantages of the idea extend beyond the stock market to global regulators and even taxpayers. It’s time to revisit breaking up Citi.

Six steps to Alibaba’s twelve-figure valuation

September 2, 2014

As the Chinese e-commerce giant launches its IPO, investors must decide what the shares are worth. Growth, profitability and stock market multiples are a factor. So are potential new businesses, though shaky governance merits a discount. Breakingviews spells out the key numbers.