Feb 6, 2014 17:03 UTC

Standalone Vodafone starts to look healthier

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

The standalone Vodafone is starting to look healthier. The mobile telecom operator will become dramatically smaller after it quits the United States and returns $84 billion to its shareholders. Elsewhere, its sales have been falling faster and faster. Now it looks like the worst is past and Vodafone hopes to ride a boom in mobile data. Yet for investors, the top question is what part the group will play in future M&A.

Feb 6, 2014 04:23 UTC

Twitter a victim of its own measure for success

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By Robert Cyran

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

Twitter may be a victim of its own measure for success. The social network is growing and mining lots of user dollars, but not enough to justify a whopping value of 30 times sales. The lofty figure rests on a rise in the company’s highly touted home brew of “timeline views.” That number’s falling, suggesting tweeters are losing interest.

Feb 5, 2014 21:58 UTC

HBO gives Netflix investors a grim sneak preview

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

Netflix investors just got a grim sneak preview courtesy of HBO. Time Warner disclosed financial details of the pay-TV network behind “Girls” for the first time. They suggest a need for heroic growth and profit assumptions by Netflix.

Feb 5, 2014 19:52 UTC

Lazard puts M&A feet firmly in big boys’ camp

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By Antony Currie

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

Lazard has put its feet firmly in the big boys’ camp. The advisory and asset management firm didn’t just make progress on financial targets that Chief Executive Ken Jacobs set two years ago. Its bankers also goosed revenue in the second half of the year. That makes Lazard look more like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan than smaller rivals Evercore and Greenhill.

Feb 5, 2014 19:13 UTC

Quitting tobacco, CVS has a Don Draper moment

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

 

CVS Caremark just had a Don Draper moment. Like the television protagonist from “Mad Men,” the second-largest U.S. drugstore chain has orchestrated a public relations splash by pulling tobacco products from the shelves at its 7,600 stores. The move will cost shareholders 17 cents a share, but the healthcare bona fides it can gain with customers against rivals like Walgreen may offset the hit.

Feb 5, 2014 06:15 UTC

IPO flops will come back to haunt Li Ka-shing

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

Li Ka-shing’s stock market flops will come back to haunt the tycoon when it matters most. His latest spinoff, utility HK Electric, has become the third listing in a row from the businessman’s energy-to-telecoms empire to fizzle. Though markets are soft, Li’s reputation for selling at the top may make it harder to get a premium valuation if he decides to press ahead with an initial public offering (IPO) for his prized health and beauty retail business, A.S. Watson.

Feb 4, 2014 17:19 UTC

Microsoft founders recede into middle distance

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By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Microsoft’s founding fathers are finally receding into the middle distance. Satya Nadella’s experience makes him a solid choice to succeed longtime Chief Executive Steven Ballmer. Better still, he will have greater room to maneuver as Bill Gates steps down as chairman. Nadella will need to grapple with his predecessors’ bad decisions, like the Nokia deal, and he’s unlikely to pursue a breakup. But he can focus on what the company does best.

While many candidates entered the frame, it was always going to be a difficult post to fill. Microsoft spans everything from its omnipresent operating system to enterprise software to consumer hardware. It’s also threatened by upstarts and a shift in technology away from PCs. Finding a manager that understands technology, all these markets and has skills in revitalizing a mature behemoth was close to impossible.

Feb 3, 2014 15:11 UTC

Lloyds still looks best of a bad bunch of UK banks

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Lloyds Banking Group’s past is delaying its promise of a sunnier future. The lender brought forward its annual results on Feb. 3, including the shock revelation of another 1.8 billion pounds of legal reserves to cover the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI). The past weighs heavily on Lloyds, but its premium to peers still looks intact.

Jan 31, 2014 21:45 UTC

Chinese M&A rings in new year with Auld Lang Syne

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

Old friends are kicking off Chinese New Year with a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Last year’s $2.5 billion sale of Cooper Tire & Rubber was undermined by its joint venture partner in Rongsheng. The two sides have now agreed a deal that helps them part ways. Given what transpired, Cooper may not be the only outsider singing “should old acquaintance be forgot” in the Year of the Horse.

Jan 31, 2014 11:30 UTC

Emerging vacuum a harbinger of global downdraught

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By Ian Campbell

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

Emerging economy policymakers are wailing, understandably. But they can’t expect some magical coordination of global monetary policy. U.S. tightening is essential to curb global bubbles. Emerging markets are the first victims. They won’t be the last.