Sep 26, 2014 06:25 UTC

Sam Waksal’s new biotech tests Wall Street amnesia

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By Robert Cyran

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

Sam Waksal’s new biotech tests Wall Street’s selective amnesia. The former ImClone boss who went to prison for an insider trading scandal that also ensnared Martha Stewart said on Wednesday that he plans to take his latest venture, Kadmon, public this year. He follows second-chancers like Donald Trump and Long-Term Capital Management founder John Meriwether. Investors can be astonishingly forgiving.

Sep 25, 2014 00:57 UTC

Tesco chairman should step aside

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By Chris Hughes

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

Tesco’s chairman should step aside. Richard Broadbent will struggle to restore market confidence in the troubled UK supermarket group, and to convince investors the board is on top of matters. This week’s accounting scandal has compounded existing concerns about his period at the helm. The priority should be an orderly handover to the right successor as soon as possible.

Sep 24, 2014 06:42 UTC

Starbucks avoids froth in $913 mln Japan buyout

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By Una Galani

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

Starbucks Corp. has served up a grande Japanese buyout without any froth. The U.S. coffee chain is buying the 60.5 percent of its listed local unit that it doesn’t already own for around $913 million – a discount to its market value. Expiring franchise license agreements give Starbucks Corp. a rare chance to take full control of its business in the world’s third-largest economy on the cheap – as long as minority shareholders don’t put up a fight.

Sep 23, 2014 15:48 UTC

Is “stranded costs” a euphemism for fat?

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By Rob Cox

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

In the electric utility industry, the term “stranded costs” refers to past investments used to build infrastructure that, as a result of deregulation, may become redundant and of no value. The jargon has surfaced lately in a different, but no less electrifying, context: uppity investor Nelson Peltz’s siege of one of America’s most venerable corporations, DuPont.

Sep 22, 2014 13:55 UTC

Tesco chairman approaches his sell-by date

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By Chris Hughes

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

Tesco’s latest crisis has put Richard Broadbent in the last chance saloon. The chairman of the UK retailer is ultimately accountable for any failures in the UK grocer’s governance. That includes any that lie behind the 250 million pound hole in the accounts, revealed on Monday.

Sep 22, 2014 06:57 UTC

Alibaba IPO highlights SoftBank’s value dilemma

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By Una Galani

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

Alibaba’s runaway initial public offering has turned the spotlight back onto SoftBank’s valuation dilemma. Following the Chinese e-commerce group’s successful New York listing, the Japanese conglomerate’s 32 percent stake eclipses the value of its other businesses. The 5 percent drop in SoftBank’s shares on the morning of Sept. 22 is a reminder the investment is both blessing and burden.

Sep 19, 2014 17:52 UTC

Larry Ellison cedes driver seat with hand on wheel

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By Robert Cyran

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

Larry Ellison is ceding the driver’s seat at Oracle while keeping one hand on wheel. The software giant’s founder is stepping down as chief executive officer, but his 25 percent stake in the company – and dual role as chairman and chief technology officer – ensure he’s far from relinquishing control. Splitting his former job between two executives could, however, lead to a bumpy transition.

Sep 19, 2014 14:52 UTC

VC bigwigs reveal Valley’s contradictions

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By Richard Beales

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

A venture capitalist who can co-opt the opening lines of “Anna Karenina” to make a business point deserves attention. In Peter Thiel’s case, he also started PayPal and Palantir Technologies and invested early on in Facebook. His new book, “Zero to One,” describes possible features of the next peerless, world-changing startup – another Google, say.

Sep 18, 2014 13:49 UTC

Bayer’s plastic float sows seeds for one more sale

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By Quentin Webb

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

Bayer’s plastic float could sow the seeds for another sale. Investors added more than $5 billion to the German blue-chip’s $114 billion market capitalisation on Sept. 18, after it unveiled plans to float MaterialScience, its capital-intensive plastics and polymers business. Once again, investors are rewarding a company for adopting a sharper focus. A logical follow-up for Bayer Chief Executive Marijn Dekkers would be to quit agrochemicals and create a pure healthcare business.

Sep 16, 2014 14:02 UTC
Edward Hadas

Why buybacks should be banned

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By Edward Hadas

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

“Charlie and I favor repurchases when… its stock is selling at a material discount to the company’s intrinsic business value.” It takes courage to contradict Warren Buffett on matters related to investing, but the Berkshire Hathaway boss is leading investors up the wrong path with share buybacks.