Nov 4, 2014 07:00 UTC

Xiaomi’s upward valuation hike hard to justify

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is a hit with customers, but its upward valuation spiral seems hard to justify. A new funding round could value the group at a mooted $50 billion. That suggests investors are valuing it the same way they do tech giant Apple. Xiaomi is growing fast, but it lacks its U.S. rival’s dominance or innovation.

Nov 3, 2014 15:14 UTC

Don’t blame the messenger, Jefferies

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By Rob Cox

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

In the weeks before Lehman Brothers went bust, Chief Executive Richard Fuld had taken to blaming the short-sellers betting against his stock and captured agents in the media for the tribulations facing his investment bank. As Jefferies, another Wall Street firm, redirects culpability for its troubles, it feels somehow appropriate to recall Fuld’s blame-the-messenger mentality in the Lehman bunker.

COMMENT

OK, so testing for drug from 3-5 years ago can’t be ascertained, fair enough. That said, I believe those who used drugs three years ago fairly likely to continue and thus, if everybody submitted themselves for testing and the results were all negative, then doth protest too much ‘is’ called for.

On the flip side, I suppose wondering if claims by an estranged wife seeking to benefit by beating her ex into submission via the court and public opinion don’t merit close examination by the press. How sad such her allegations are also impossible to disprove.

Leaves one to wonder, eh? Too bad this is circulating in public.

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Nov 3, 2014 15:07 UTC

Publicis overpays with $3.7 bln digital takeover

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.