Aug 14, 2014 19:28 UTC

Venezuela digs way to distressed seller status

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By Christopher Swann

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

Venezuela is digging its way to distressed seller status. The country wants to offload Citgo, its U.S. refinery and pipelines unit. It may be worth up to $15 billion, money that’s sorely needed thanks to President Nicolas Maduro’s barmy economic policies. And the drop in value of heavy-oil assets like Citgo owns makes it a bad time to sell.

Aug 14, 2014 16:37 UTC

IPO exuberance ensnares Deutsche, Wells Fargo

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By Robert Cyran

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

IPO exuberance has ensnared Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo. The two banks nixed a biotech deal last week – six days after it started trading. Their reasoning looks defensible, but their due diligence beforehand less so.

Aug 14, 2014 07:20 UTC

China data puts economists to the Rorschach test

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By John Foley 

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

Is China’s economy stable or stuttering? Swings in credit and investment reflected in data released on Aug. 13 support conflicting views. Broadly, things look on track. But uncertainty can be damaging if it undermines the confidence of the people who matter most: consumers and depositors.

Aug 13, 2014 13:08 UTC

Alibaba payments cleanup makes for neater IPO

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Alibaba just can’t stop tinkering with its corporate structure. Weeks before the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut is due to start a roadshow for an initial public offering, it has tidied up relations with its payments affiliate. Though the new arrangement is still messier than shareholders might want, it should make for a neater IPO.

COMMENT

Re AMZN’s entry into the crowded payment field announced today – This PR has not added one cent to AMZN’s bottom line, but the desired pop in the price of AMZN stock has been accomplished. Now, please note, AMZN has a PER well over 500. This questioning investor in the mold of Benjamin Graham + Sir John Templeton solicits comments from Reuters worldwide audience for a rational explanation of this unique phenomenon – a stock with no earnings has a valuation reminiscent of the tulip mania of 300 years ago + ENRON’s exactly 10 years ago.

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Aug 12, 2014 18:34 UTC

Aussie bid battle questions wine’s standalone case

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By Una Galani

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

Wine may age better in the cellar than on the stock market. A bid battle for Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates – the only big listed producer – has called into question the case for standalone wine companies. The maker of Penfolds could be better-managed but a fragmented market and low brand loyalty also suggests the fruit of the vine may not be suitable for public company treatment.

Aug 12, 2014 07:00 UTC

Aircraft leasing flies back into vogue in Asia

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Aircraft leasing is flying back into vogue in Asia. Many Western groups jettisoned the business of buying and renting out planes after the financial crisis. Now China’s sovereign wealth fund and tycoon Li Ka-shing are considering climbing on board. Strong forecast demand for aircraft explains the appeal – as long as finance is cheap and reliable.

Aug 11, 2014 18:47 UTC

Kinder Morgan’s large-number solution: get bigger

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By Christopher Swann

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

Richard Kinder’s master class in financial engineering is back in session. The Kinder Morgan boss struck $71 billion of deals to unite his sprawling U.S. pipeline empire. Various partnerships had reached a scale that was limiting returns. Kinder somehow managed to solve this size quandary by getting bigger.

Aug 11, 2014 07:01 UTC

China’s e-commerce secret weapon: the delivery guy

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By John Foley 

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

Want a Big Mac delivered to your door in minutes? Or a refrigerator by the end of the day? While U.S. retailers puzzle over how to make that happen, China’s e-commerce companies are already there. Servicing the country’s web-connected consumers at ever-faster speeds is driving some big businesses, not to mention stock market valuations. The secret weapon: the humble delivery guy.

Aug 8, 2014 18:14 UTC

Behold the unversion: an inversion in all but name

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Behold the unversion. U.S.-based data protection firm SafeNet may very well be able to slash its tax rate as part of a cross-border deal. Instead of doing so by acquiring an overseas company – a move known as an inversion – it is selling itself for $890 million to Dutch digital security outfit Gemalto. The deal shows the limitations of a possible U.S. government ban on inversions.

Aug 8, 2014 11:23 UTC

BlackRock is right: European IPOs need more work

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By Dominic Elliott

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

BlackRock is right: European initial public offerings need more work. The world’s largest asset manager recently emailed bookrunners asking why a third of new listings in Europe this year were trading down and how matters could be improved. The IPO market is much healthier than when BlackRock railed against UK listings in 2011. But there are still too many banks per deal and buyers are still rushed into decisions.