Nov 3, 2014 15:07 UTC

Publicis overpays with $3.7 bln digital takeover

Photo

By Quentin Webb

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

Publicis is overpaying for a digital reboot. Performance is faltering at the French advertising giant after a failed transatlantic merger. The $3.7 billion purchase of U.S. group Sapient looks like a pricey distraction.

Oct 31, 2014 19:23 UTC

Bank synchrony hints at right kind of collusion

Photo

By Antony Currie

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

Banks may finally be participants in the right kind of collusion. In recent days, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS each has socked away big sums for legal expenses, much of it related to currency rate manipulation. That suggests a multitude of U.S. and UK regulators are working together on a rare single settlement.

Oct 30, 2014 15:01 UTC

New Shell chairman has a tough job on his hands

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Royal Dutch Shell’s new chairman needs to learn quickly. Charles Holliday is appointed as oil prices slump towards $85 a barrel. After a dismal 2013, Shell’s newish CEO Ben van Beurden is reviving the company’s fortunes. But he will need Holliday’s backup when he joins next year.

Oct 28, 2014 18:47 UTC

Sky-high valuations no match for earnings reality

Photo

By Robert Cyran

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

Sky-high valuations are no match for the sober black-and-white of quarterly earnings. Investors knocked more than 10 percent, or well over $3 billion, off Twitter’s worth in early trade on Tuesday despite a third-quarter report on Monday that showed sales doubling from a year earlier. Blame the company’s overdone valuation. Twitter trades at more than 100 times its own “non-GAAP estimated earnings” measure. Other U.S. companies on high multiples have suffered a similar reality check.

Oct 28, 2014 14:37 UTC

UBS’ legal pain is beginning to look manageable

Photo

By Dominic Elliott

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

UBS investors can almost see past the bank’s legal woes. The Zurich-based financial group is still paying for past sins, with a 12 month extension of a U.S. non-prosecution deal and a hefty 1.8 billion Swiss francs ($1.9 billion) addition to litigation provisions in the third quarter. But underlying businesses are now prospering.

Oct 27, 2014 07:09 UTC

Missed stock connection hurts China’s reform drive

Photo

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

China’s financial reform drive has suffered another setback. A flagship scheme to link the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges has been delayed after regulators failed to approve it ahead of an expected launch on Oct. 27. The setback puts another question mark over why foreign investors would want to access China’s markets in the first place.

Oct 24, 2014 19:57 UTC

Duracell jolt highlights the value of focus at P&G

Photo

By Kevin Allison

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

Procter & Gamble’s Duracell jolt highlights the value of focus at the sprawling $225 billion consumer products giant. Investors were energized by the detergent-to-diapers behemoth’s plan to offload its batteries arm. Spinning off copper tops won’t create much value on its own. But it’s a solid plank in boss A.G. Lafley’s campaign to shed underperforming brands and simplify an unwieldy business.

Oct 24, 2014 13:03 UTC

Amazon’s ambition outruns its cash flow

Photo

By Robert Cyran

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

Amazon’s ambition is outrunning its cash flow. The online retailer’s 20 percent sales growth in its third quarter was slower than expected, and its $437 million loss was an ugly record. But it’s the firm’s voracious need for investment that is the bigger problem. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’ vision may be limitless, but his company’s ability to finance it is not.

Oct 23, 2014 16:53 UTC

Credit Suisse’s future is mid-table drabness

Photo

By Dominic Elliott

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

Credit Suisse’s future is more workmanlike than its racy third quarter might suggest. The Swiss group revealed on Oct. 23 that its investment bank had trumped Wall Street: fixed income trading revenue leapt by a half year-on-year, against U.S. peers’ average mid-teens increase. But questions linger over Credit Suisse’s ability to maintain that performance if rates rise.

Oct 23, 2014 12:57 UTC

Tesco fails to answer key strategy questions

Photo

By Robert Cole

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

Tesco has let a golden opportunity go begging. The UK grocer could have built confidence in its future with a bold statement of strategy alongside a key set of half-year numbers. It could have taken the first steps to recovery. Yet Tesco appears as mired as ever.