Breakingviews

Jefferies rubs salt into own wounds

March 17, 2015

The Wall Street firm avoided a second straight quarterly loss, but just barely. It reported only $12.5 mln in profit after missing the rebound in most fixed-income trading and relying too much on slowing LBOs. Boss Richard Handler can’t afford another dismal quarter like this.

Clock ticks for Swatch in Apple Watch challenge

March 17, 2015

Swatch CEO Nick Hayek is sanguine about the tech giant’s attempt to disrupt time. Yet he faces tricky options: lock horns with Tim Cook in a smartwatch war, or move upmarket where Apple will struggle to compete on craftsmanship. Swatch doesn’t look primed for either.

Valeant’s $11 bln bid may have scored two knockouts

March 16, 2015

By sweetening its offer for Salix, the acquisitive drugmaker now backed by hedgie Bill Ackman put rival suitor Endo on the mat. The extra cash and a balance sheet reeling from the Allergan deal leave the business model looking wobbly. Valeant may have just rung its own bell too.

BNY Mellon spat hints at activism getting crowded

March 13, 2015

Marcato Capital, run by a protégé of Bill Ackman, is gunning for the bank’s CEO after Nelson Peltz’s Trian secured a board seat. Sotheby’s and Darden also attracted multiple agitators. Being pushy has been profitable, but there may be too much money chasing too few opportunities.

Rob Cox: Banks can now prep for even tougher exam

March 12, 2015

After a stressful week of stress-testing, U.S. mega-lenders might want to kick back and earn some money. If only it were so easy. They’ve mostly proven they can weather a flood, but not yet a break in the levee. That comes next with the Fed and FDIC resolution requirements.

Winner of “Survivor: Mega-Banks” may be loser

March 11, 2015

Brady Dougan’s departure from Credit Suisse leaves JPMorgan, Goldman and Wells with the last pre-2008 bosses. Dimon, Blankfein and Stumpf have overcome challenges but also are approaching a decade at the helm. One lesson from the crisis was the danger of sticking around too long.

Silicon Valley sexism case tests new M&M color

March 11, 2015

Venture capitalists at Kleiner Perkins didn’t slip the candy down blouses, behavior that cost one tech law firm big bucks in 1994. But they’re accused of unfairly blocking a woman’s rise. It’s a subtler but more toxic flavor of discrimination that suggests how little has changed.

Credit Suisse finds CEO industry fears – but needs

March 10, 2015

Tidjane Thiam, who will replace Brady Dougan in July, has no ties or loyalty to investment or private banking. And he has a reputation for making bold moves. It’s a combination that should send shivers not just through Credit Suisse, but the City and Wall Street, too.

Credit Suisse buys some insurance with Pru CEO

March 10, 2015

Hiring Tidjane Thiam to replace Brady Dougan should bring a fresh perspective to capital and cost conundrums. The former consultant may encounter skeptical dealmakers and regulators. Even so, his decision to leave the fast-growing UK insurer is a vote of confidence in banking.

Apple entry into DJIA is polish for an antique

March 6, 2015

The average will finally include the world’s biggest company in place of AT&T, Apple’s original iPhone partner. The Dow Jones is outdated, with a stock split by Visa – a move with no real-world consequences – forcing the change. Like landlines and checkbooks, though, it lives on.