Mar 24, 2014 17:41 UTC

Pricey Nets LBO gives banks big payment to process

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

Private equity has prospered investing in essential modern infrastructure like cable networks. The $3 billion-plus sale of Nets in Denmark shows buyout firms are just as keen to buy into the world’s financial plumbing. Advent International and Bain Capital already own WorldPay, a big payments processor which Royal Bank of Scotland sold as penance for receiving state aid. Now the duo have partnered with Danish pension giant ATP to buy Nets, WorldPay’s Nordic equivalent.

Mar 24, 2014 04:42 UTC

Li Ka-shing de-risks with $6 bln Temasek sale

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By Una Galani

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

Li Ka-shing is de-risking. The Hong Kong tycoon has ditched plans to list his retail division AS Watson in favour of selling a 24.95 percent stake to Temasek for $5.7 billion. The deal crystallises a decent valuation for Li without the uncertainties of an initial public offering (IPO). For the Singaporean state fund, it’s a bold bet on consumer growth and private investments.

Mar 21, 2014 18:39 UTC

Bouygues’s latest SFR offer may still fall short

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.