Nov 21, 2014 11:50 UTC

Pru’s lesson for investors: trust animal spirits

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By Chris Hughes

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

Shareholders gripe when bosses offer big premiums in takeovers. Such lack of faith in management can prove costly. Prudential’s share price surge to new highs this week worsens the toll borne by rival Aviva for its failed attempt at buying its domestic insurance peer in 2006. The combination would have created a UK national champion and countered Aviva’s strategic weaknesses. It failed largely because Aviva felt it lacked investor support to pay more than a miserly 10 percent premium.

Nov 19, 2014 20:29 UTC

Activist row bigger than Keystone for TransCanada

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By Kevin Allison

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

A sparring match with an activist is a bigger deal for TransCanada than the company’s troubled Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed $8 billion conduit of tar-sands oil from Alberta to Texas failed to muster enough votes in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday night. But even if the long-delayed project dies, the lost value could pale next to the extra lucre a New York hedge fund thinks shareholders would reap from a breakup of the $35 billion company.

Nov 19, 2014 18:05 UTC

Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast

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By Robert Cyran

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

Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast. The Silicon Valley taxi app’s disregard for rules has spurred it toward a $30 billion valuation. But executives who threaten to “dig up dirt” on critics, use unsavory tactics against rivals, and post statistics on customers’ one-night stands present an existential business risk and hurt its fledgling brand. Uber needs to rein in its laddish impulses.

Nov 19, 2014 15:10 UTC

Deutsche’s CoCo buyers are not totally irrational

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By George Hay

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

There’s method in the madness of those investing in Deutsche Bank CoCos. The German lender confirmed on Nov. 19 that it had sold $1.5 billion of so-called contingent convertible debt with a 10-year maturity, following the May sale of 3.5 billion euros of six-year paper. Buying bank debt that is written down when the share price is tumbling sounds crazy, but it might not be right now.

Nov 18, 2014 14:57 UTC

AstraZeneca struggles to advance value defence

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By Neil Unmack

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

AstraZeneca is struggling to advance its value defence. The UK pharma group fought Pfizer’s unsolicited $119 billion bid earlier this year by promising growth. It is now reiterating its punchy revenue targets. But Astra is only inching forward. The chances of seeing off another assault by its U.S. rival have been improved more by American curbs on tax-driven M&A than by self-help.

Nov 13, 2014 19:38 UTC

Buffett’s $4.7 bln Duracell deal a double positive

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By Robert Cyran and Kevin Allison

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Warren Buffett’s $4.7 billion Duracell deal is more positive than negative. Berkshire Hathaway is paying for its latest acquisition by trading its stake in Procter & Gamble for the consumer stalwart’s battery unit. Swapping a reliable staple for a declining business looks odd. But the transaction is structured in a way that means both sides are getting a decent deal.

Nov 13, 2014 14:34 UTC

SABMiller has fight to justify heady share price

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By Robert Cole

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

Perma-speculation that Belgian brewer AB InBev will make a bid probably accounts for most of the share price premium enjoyed by rival SABMiller. Without such support, the UK group’s stock could drift lower.

Nov 12, 2014 19:46 UTC

Barclays’ forex delay looks like bad news

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By George Hay

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

Barclays is once again exposed. In June 2012, the UK bank was the first to settle claims that its staff attempted to fiddle Libor rates. It promptly lost its senior management and a good deal of its reputation. A decision this time round to hang back from an industry settlement for multiple failings in foreign exchange trading is harder to immediately assess. But it probably isn’t good news.

Nov 12, 2014 14:46 UTC

FX fines are wake-up call on self-policing

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By Dominic Elliott 

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

The $3.4 billion regulatory settlement for currency market rigging is a big wake-up call to the banking industry on self-policing. The firms involved – Citigroup, HSBC, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS – are paying 20 percent more than the same authorities have levied from five firms for the Libor scandal. That cannot be dismissed as simple fine inflation. It reflects banks’ failure to learn their lesson. Misdeeds in FX went on as recently as October 2013 – well over a year after Barclays became the first bank to settle over Libor.

COMMENT

Banks never learn from the past; therefore they repeat the past.

Posted by grg32 | Report as abusive
Nov 12, 2014 06:06 UTC

Chinese flirt app seeks undiscerning IPO investors

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By Robyn Mak

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

China’s latest tech initial public offering looks like a date from hell. Social network Momo has a fast growing user base and puts a flirtatious twist on location-based chat apps. But a recent history of widening losses and very peculiar governance risks suggest investors should commit at their own risk.