Mar 4, 2014 18:03 UTC

Tobacco deal may work if survives regulatory fire

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

Tobacco giant Reynolds American may be mulling a bid for smaller rival Lorillard, apparently to investors’ pleasure.  Shares of the possible target, which specializes in trendy menthol cigarettes, leaped more than 9 percent after the Financial Times indicated that Lorillard might attract a more than $20 billion offer.

Mar 4, 2014 07:19 UTC

Li Ka-shing dual listing plan more than cosmetic

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By Una Galani

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

Li Ka-shing’s dual listing plan may be more than just a vanity project. The tycoon wants to float his A.S. Watson unit in London or Singapore as well as Hong Kong. For most companies the attractions of multiple listings are skin deep. But if the retail group can claw its way into several benchmark indices, it could prove an exception.

Mar 3, 2014 17:53 UTC

Inverses Buffett and Icahn correlate many ways too

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

Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn are inverse investors who correlate in more ways than one. In just-released letters to shareholders, the two billionaires tout their returns and approaches to deploying capital. While their styles couldn’t be more different, both beat the market by betting on America, playing hardball and trading on personal brands. Yet their greatest common bond is that neither can be easily replicated.

Mar 3, 2014 16:24 UTC

Ukraine crisis dents EU banks’ recovery plans

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By George Hay

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

Crisis in Ukraine is denting European banks’ recovery strategies. Barring Austria’s Raiffeisen, few Western groups have meaningful exposure to the country. But big lenders such as Societe Generale, Commerzbank, UniCredit and KBC were hoping lucrative, fast-growing markets in central and Eastern Europe would counter humdrum returns at home. With Russia squaring off against the West, the economic, currency, and political risks of this approach are all too apparent.

Mar 3, 2014 16:18 UTC

West can hurt Russia – if there’s a will

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Western powers seem to consider that Crimea is gone, that Russia is there to stay, and that their main option is to increase the “cost” – Barack Obama’s word – that Vladimir Putin must pay for his actions in the Ukrainian territory.

COMMENT

Trade is a 2 way process that benefits both parties. The West cannot hurt Russia unless USA exports more energy to Europe.

Posted by WJL | Report as abusive
Feb 28, 2014 18:28 UTC

Citi’s Mexico fraud besmirches industry further

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

Not for the first time, Citigroup has stepped into a mess – and by extension besmirched the financial industry. Not that Citi committed a crime, or colluded to set foreign exchange rates or Libor prices, say. Rather the bank is the victim of fraud in Mexico that could cost it much as $400 million. The problem is that the lender has been cheated out of the cash in one of the most basic businesses in banking. That should worry Citi’s rivals, too.

Feb 28, 2014 16:44 UTC

Dan Loeb bids against himself at Sotheby’s

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

Dan Loeb seems to be bidding against himself at Sotheby’s. The Third Point hedge fund activist surprised the auctioneer by nominating three directors to run against the incumbents, even after the firm offered him one uncontested board seat and even acted on some of his gripes.

Feb 28, 2014 16:15 UTC

Blackstone bets Versace can go up a few sizes

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By Quentin Webb

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

Blackstone is betting Versace can go up a few sizes. The U.S. private equity firm has bought 20 percent of the Italian fashion house at a 1 billion-euro valuation. This is a wager that Versace’s lightweight business can grow to fit its extra-large brand.

Feb 28, 2014 06:04 UTC

Macau casino stocks are priced for perfection

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Macau’s casino stocks are priced for perfection. A building boom will expand capacity in China’s gambling enclave. But to justify their valuations, gaming operators not only need to attract more punters but encourage them to spend more at the tables. Any slowdown or increased competition could test excited multiples.

Feb 27, 2014 19:28 UTC

PayPal has outgrown eBay’s warm embrace

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

PayPal has outgrown the warm embrace of its parent eBay. The online merchant’s ownership provided rich soil for the payments system to thrive. But PayPal is now mature enough to grow faster on its own. Activist Carl Icahn has a point when he says splitting eBay in two – as first suggested by Breakingviews in 2008 – would make investors some 15 percent richer.