Sep 4, 2013 04:22 UTC

China’s bad debt could leave $500 bln equity hole

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By John Foley

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

China’s bad debts could blow a $500 billion hole in bank balance sheets. That’s roughly how much extra equity the eleven biggest lenders might need if 10 percent of their loans went sour, according to a Breakingviews calculator. Though the chairman of ICBC, China’s biggest lender, thinks dismal bank valuations are “unfair”, the malaise is well deserved.

Sep 3, 2013 21:03 UTC

Verizon puts AT&T’s acquisition willpower to test

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By Robert Cyran

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

Verizon just put AT&T’s acquisition willpower to the test. Growth in the U.S. mobile market is slowing, and as AT&T learned the hard way, competition concerns preclude any transformative domestic deals.

Sep 3, 2013 11:02 UTC

Vodafone gets it: cash is king for wary investors

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By Quentin Webb

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

Vodafone’s $130 billion U.S. exit is tailored for a cautious age. The mobile giant knows that safety-first investors, especially in Europe, still prefer cash to grand plans. And so 71 percent of the proceeds from selling Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless will go straight to shareholders. Debt falls, dividends rise, and capital expenditure should get a healthy boost. AOL-Time Warner, this is not.

Aug 30, 2013 14:52 UTC

Belarus-Russia spat clears way for potash plunge

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By Kevin Allison

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

Before the arrest of a top Russian fertiliser executive in Belarus this week, there was a slim chance that two of the world’s biggest potash producers might revive their alliance setting the prices of the soil nutrient. The ensuing diplomatic bust-up between Minsk and Moscow now makes reconciliation unlikely. Farmers and consumers will benefit from lower potash prices.

Aug 29, 2013 18:21 UTC

Vodafone needs to deliver on Verizon exit

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

 

If Vittorio Colao could achieve only one thing as chief executive of Vodafone, he might wish to sort out the UK telecoms group’s messy American mobile venture with U.S. peer Verizon. Vodafone has now confirmed it is in talks to sell its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to its partner. A good deal here would represent a tremendous outcome for Colao.

Aug 27, 2013 20:07 UTC

Industrialist hat suits Bill Ackman better

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By Christopher Swann and Jeffrey Goldfarb
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Industrialist Bill Ackman is more persuasive than shopkeeper Bill Ackman. The uppity investor’s exit this week from a disastrous investment in J.C. Penney underscores that retail just isn’t his thing. A big bet on $22 billion Air Products and Chemicals represents a second foray into heavier production for the Pershing Square Capital Management founder, after Canadian Pacific. As at the railway, better management could go a long way at the gas producer.

Aug 26, 2013 21:30 UTC
Edward Hadas

Nepotism is giving way to elite breeding

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

The role of family ties is changing in modern economies. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at an example of old fashioned nepotism – some JPMorgan hires in China which might amount to bribery under U.S. law. Whatever happens in this case, a new style of family power – “elite breeding” – is flourishing around the world.

Aug 26, 2013 21:11 UTC

Trump gives for-profit education an even worse rap

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

Leave it to American real-estate mogul Donald Trump to give the for-profit education industry an even worse rap than it already has. Schools looking to make a buck have come under scrutiny recently for taking students’ money but providing lackluster job results. New York State’s $40 million lawsuit over Trump’s foray into the industry underscores the need for these institutions to make credentials clear.

Aug 26, 2013 09:15 UTC

Asia sell-off will expose weak corporate defences

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Generals usually fight the last war, not the current one. Investors have a similar mindset. In Asia, a market sell-off has raised concerns about a re-run of the financial calamity of 1997-98. Though most of the region’s economies are in better shape this time, corporate leverage has risen quickly, and it looks like some companies have forgotten the lessons of history.

Aug 23, 2013 17:30 UTC

New Microsoft CEO needs “less is more” mindset

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

The next boss of Microsoft needs a “less is more” mindset. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer is finally on the way out. A $20 billion bump in the company’s value following the news shows just how badly investors wanted a new approach. The wasteful “try everything” strategy should go.