Dec 22, 2014 22:06 UTC

First case against algorithm could reboot U.S. law

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By Reynolds Holding

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

A new test is coming for U.S. law: the first criminal case against an algorithm. The prosecution of an energy trader essentially turns on whether one computer program duped another. Proving intent seems futuristic at best where software is the de facto defendant.

Dec 22, 2014 22:01 UTC

More than Slim odds America Movil buys T-Mobile

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By Robert Cyran

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

Carlos Slim may try to buy the $21 billion T-Mobile US in the coming year. The Mexican billionaire needs to reduce his telephone company’s dependence on its home country. The fourth-largest U.S. wireless operator is cheap, its parent doesn’t want it, and there’s strategic logic to a deal. Increasingly frightful competition in U.S. telecoms may be a sticking point.

Dec 22, 2014 21:53 UTC

China-U.S. shift will end Cold War peace dividend

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

China’s defense outlays may match those of the United States in 15 years. Meanwhile, America’s relative austerity paired with Russian aggression could force European military spending higher. Western makers of aircraft and other weaponry will face new global competition from Chinese companies, though revenue prospects may improve. Governments, meanwhile, may have to choose between just rearming and an all-out arms race.

Dec 19, 2014 17:36 UTC

Review: An Icelandic tycoon’s sorry saga

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By Quentin Webb

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

Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson embodies Iceland’s volcanic rise and fall. He made a fortune in Eastern Europe, lost a bank in 2008 and caused Deutsche Bank years of grief. His memoir, “Billions to Bust – and Back Again,” is self-critical – but unlikely to win him new friends in Reykjavik.

Dec 18, 2014 20:47 UTC

Dry powder may explode in buyout barons’ faces

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

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In the private equity world, almost everything is going up. That’s just not as good as it sounds for buyout barons.

Dec 18, 2014 15:45 UTC

James Gorman can leave Brian Moynihan in slow lane

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By Antony Currie

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

James Gorman will leave Brian Moynihan in the slow lane in 2015. It’s the year the chairmen and chief executives of Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, respectively, mark five years in charge of the two global banking powerhouses. Neither has had an easy time of his first half-decade. Gorman, though, looks on track to lead his firm’s return on equity back above 10 percent.

Dec 17, 2014 21:42 UTC

M&A “clear day” defenses can cloud investor rights

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By Reynolds Holding

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

Corporate defenses can hurt investors, rain or shine. Anti-takeover measures adopted on so-called “clear days” – before threats arise – are more likely to weather legal scrutiny. It’s one reason Allergan was able to beat back Valeant’s unwanted $52 billion advance. When such protections are triggered in the heat of battle, though, they’re considered unfair surprises. Either way, shareholders usually get unneeded cover.

Dec 17, 2014 20:19 UTC

Sony email shareholders would like to see

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By Rob Cox

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

The hacking scandal at Sony’s Hollywood studio isn’t just embarrassing. It’s a business problem for the $23 billion Japanese conglomerate already struggling to turn itself around. Herewith, a selection of internal messages Sony’s board and executives ought to be fielding this week.

Dec 16, 2014 19:46 UTC

Jefferies closes annus horribilis on wicked downer

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By Antony Currie

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

Jefferies closed its annus horribilis on a wicked downer. The Wall Street securities firm lost $93 million in its fiscal fourth quarter as revenue slumped by 43 percent. For much of the period, the firm was in the news because of the very public proceedings of senior banker Sage Kelly’s divorce. Boss Richard Handler says the financial impact of Kelly-gate was “immaterial” to the bottom line.

Dec 16, 2014 17:10 UTC

European telecoms will dial up more deals

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By Quentin Webb

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

European telecoms will dial up more deals in 2015. With M&A sweeping the sector, BT’s mobile ambitions mean Britain is up next, and tie-ups could follow elsewhere.