Dec 30, 2014 19:09 UTC

Shake Shack IPO disappoints in taste test

Photo

By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Shake Shack is turning the basic burger into complex financial cuisine. The global fast-food chain started by celebrity restaurateur Danny Meyer filed to go public on Monday with some of the tortured trappings served up with new technology stocks. Two classes of shares and creative financial metrics are especially unappetizing. There’s at least a sweetish bottom line to wash it all down.

Dec 30, 2014 11:28 UTC

Tesco will have to fight for its independence

Photo

By Robert Cole

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

Tesco will have to fight for its independence in 2015. The UK grocer’s equity value fell from 33 billion pounds ($51 billion) three years ago to 15 billion pounds in mid-December. The group will start the year by unveiling a new strategy and, probably, a new chairman. Neither provides solid protection against a bid.

Dec 24, 2014 18:24 UTC

JPMorgan soul-baring cuts room for error

Photo

By Antony Currie

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

JPMorgan is following Goldman Sachs’ lead by baring some of its soul. The bank run by Jamie Dimon last week unveiled a 96-page publication entitled “How we do business: The report.” Like its rival’s business standards review almost four years ago, the volume is laden with PR-speak, along with some worrying admissions and much-needed improvements.

Dec 24, 2014 16:59 UTC

Mary Barra gets a second first year at GM’s wheel

Photo

By Kevin Allison

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

Mary Barra will have a second chance to make a first impression at the wheel of General Motors in 2015. The carmaker’s ignition-switch fiasco crashed her first year as chief executive. The crisis may, though, have speeded up much-needed changes.

Dec 23, 2014 19:56 UTC

Bank cyberinsurance is overdue to come of age

Photo

By Richard Beales

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

A high-profile hack at JPMorgan – to say nothing of monstrous breaches at Sony and Home Depot – has made cybersecurity a daily concern for executives at big banks and corporations. One partial protection is to take out insurance. It’s a confusing market, but growing fast. With a U.S. government campaign on top of all the publicity, coverage may become standard.

Dec 22, 2014 22:08 UTC

Acquirers can expect more M&A investor skeptics

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Success begets imitation, especially in Wall Street’s M&A factories. More than $3.2 trillion of deals were proposed around the world in 2014. More will be encouraged by the uproarious response given by investors to shares of acquiring companies. As the easy pickings evaporate, though, the laws of corporate finance will prevail. Buyers can expect greater skepticism.

Dec 22, 2014 22:06 UTC

First case against algorithm could reboot U.S. law

Photo

By Reynolds Holding

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

A new test is coming for U.S. law: the first criminal case against an algorithm. The prosecution of an energy trader essentially turns on whether one computer program duped another. Proving intent seems futuristic at best where software is the de facto defendant.

Dec 22, 2014 22:01 UTC

More than Slim odds America Movil buys T-Mobile

Photo

By Robert Cyran

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

Carlos Slim may try to buy the $21 billion T-Mobile US in the coming year. The Mexican billionaire needs to reduce his telephone company’s dependence on its home country. The fourth-largest U.S. wireless operator is cheap, its parent doesn’t want it, and there’s strategic logic to a deal. Increasingly frightful competition in U.S. telecoms may be a sticking point.

Dec 22, 2014 21:53 UTC

China-U.S. shift will end Cold War peace dividend

Photo

By Daniel Indiviglio

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

China’s defense outlays may match those of the United States in 15 years. Meanwhile, America’s relative austerity paired with Russian aggression could force European military spending higher. Western makers of aircraft and other weaponry will face new global competition from Chinese companies, though revenue prospects may improve. Governments, meanwhile, may have to choose between just rearming and an all-out arms race.

Dec 19, 2014 17:36 UTC

Review: An Icelandic tycoon’s sorry saga

Photo

By Quentin Webb

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

Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson embodies Iceland’s volcanic rise and fall. He made a fortune in Eastern Europe, lost a bank in 2008 and caused Deutsche Bank years of grief. His memoir, “Billions to Bust – and Back Again,” is self-critical – but unlikely to win him new friends in Reykjavik.