Jul 3, 2014 17:11 UTC

Quickie stock sales toy with Volcker Rule spirit

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By Antony Currie 

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

Investment banks are using quickie stock sales to toy with the spirit of the Volcker Rule. Wall Street sold some $23 billion of equity block trades for public companies in the first half of the year, according to Thomson Reuters data. That’s almost as much as initial public offerings have raised. These deals are a handy tool for corporations. But at times investment banks blur the line between capital-raising and banned proprietary trading.

Jul 3, 2014 10:29 UTC

Cash calls misstate likely EU bank equity deficit

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By Dominic Elliott

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

European bank cash calls could be misstating the sector’s overall equity deficit. Sixteen lenders have raised over 18 billion euros in equity this year, with Portugal’s Millennium BCP the most recent. Until the European Central Bank divulges its comprehensive assessment results in October, it’s not certain which ones are doing so out of desperation, and which are just being cautious.

Jul 2, 2014 07:50 UTC

Macau revenue drop augurs further slowdown

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Even Macau isn’t immune to China’s e-commerce boom. Online betting on soccer’s World Cup may have contributed to the first year-on-year drop in the enclave’s gaming revenue since 2010. That’s okay as long as tourist numbers keep rising.

Jul 1, 2014 18:30 UTC

U.S. cooks up penalties with anti-foreign flavor

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By Reynolds Holding

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

Uncle Sam is cooking up penalties with an anti-foreign flavor. New research suggests that overseas firms like BNP Paribas do in fact pay bigger fines and plead guilty more often than U.S. companies. One reason may be that prosecutors target only the most serious cases abroad. But the differences feed suspicions that America is playing favorites.

COMMENT

Could you do us a favor and give a reference to the Univ. of Virginia law school study instead of keeping it hidden from view. People would like to read the study itself, instead of hearing your opinion about what it said. BNP was breaking the law, and was nailed. Your argument seems to be that the penalties are too high. But is your comparison correct? Yes, perhaps US banks have lower penalties, but have US banks been trading with Iran, Cuba and other probated nations? If not, then why should their penalties be as high as for banks that do?

Posted by WestFlorida | Report as abusive
Jul 1, 2014 15:15 UTC

Solving the second-class stock conundrum

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By Rob Cox

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

Over dinner in San Francisco recently, an activist investor and an internet entrepreneur got into a heated discussion. The two men, with a gap of about two decades between them, were debating the practice of many young, growth businesses in the technology world – though it happens elsewhere too – to issue multiple classes of stock, generally one for hoi polloi investors in public offerings and another for founders and other insiders with super-charged voting powers.

COMMENT

Shareholders need more say not less, especially on executive compensation.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive
Jul 1, 2014 11:07 UTC

BNP’s Prot should go

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Baudouin Prot should go. The French establishment has circled the wagons, and there is little chance that the chairman of BNP Paribas, who was the bank’s chief executive at the time of the criminal activities it just admitted to, will resign or be asked to. He will then fail to do the decent thing after the bank’s unprecedented guilty plea and near-$9 billion fine.

Jul 1, 2014 06:14 UTC

Private equity’s bad habit: Asian minority stakes

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By Una Galani

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

Private equity firms have developed a bad habit in Asia. They are investing record amounts in minority stakes in listed companies. Investors dislike such deals because they can buy the shares themselves. History also suggests that giving up control is fraught with risks.

COMMENT

With risk comes reward and as Asia continues to be a major engine of continued global economy growth, the PE investments may prove to be succintly sound.

Posted by Kizi_da_Grizzly | Report as abusive
Jun 30, 2014 19:20 UTC

Evonik in $400 mln soccer deal it doesn’t need

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Evonik’s 300 million euro ($400 million) tie-up with Bundesliga soccer team Borussia Dortmund (BVB) has little merits for the company’s shareholders. Germany’s third-largest chemical company hopes that the alliance with the club will turn its brand into a global household name. The snag is that Evonik doesn’t do any business with end users.

Jun 30, 2014 14:21 UTC

Philips lighting split is a bright idea

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By Dominic Elliott

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

A lighting split at Philips is a bright idea. The Dutch electronics group, which makes everything from defibrillators to air purifiers, has already spent years restructuring, pulling back from areas like televisions and home audio. Now Philips is moving its high-powered LED and car lights components operations into a standalone unit. Stepping out of their parent’s shadow should help the fast-growing businesses attract outside capital.

Jun 27, 2014 19:29 UTC

Soros takes sub-quantum leap into activism

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By Christopher Swann

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

Is George Soros turning activist? His $29 billion hedge fund has famously confronted governments. But facing off with a $1 billion U.S. oil and gas company is novel. The move gives underperforming corporate bosses another scourge to fear.

COMMENT

A family hedge fund worth $29 billion? As such, the fund is not required to file reports with the FCC, but it is OK to go after companies that are. How is this fair to public companies and their shareholders? Is Soros using high frequency trading and offshore dark pools to further tilt the playing field in his favor?

This type of fund is the best argument that I know of to enlarge the “estate tax” and use some of the proceeds for government regulation of these predatory behaviors. If this is not done, in the not to distant future we can look forward to the national dominance of yet another aristocratic class, if we are not there already.

Didn’t western civilization try this before? The social imbalances created led to centuries of warfare, including the development of fascism in the 20th century. I doubt that this is an outcome that Mr. Soros intends.

Posted by mudinyoureye | Report as abusive