UK upstart banks lack too-big-to-fail airbag

July 6, 2016

Britain's challenger banks have grown thanks to their bigger peers' dire customer service. Most look well capitalised. But a Brexit-induced recession and commercial property downturn may expose shoddy underwriting. Their tiny size means regulators won't mind if they go under.

U.S. anti-gun rulings put freer markets in sight

March 8, 2016

Courts have upheld assault-weapons bans, adding heft to a Connecticut suit that tests laws shielding firearms firms from liability. The case is still a stretch, but growing assent to gun-rights limits may force the likes of Remington to compete without unfair legal protection.

Big banks win by a whisker in UK competition probe

October 22, 2015

Britain’s antitrust watchdog has ducked breaking up the country’s four dominant lenders, or taking the sensible step of banning “free” current accounts. Smaller banks will still find it tough to grow. As for bank account holders themselves, they will be little better off.

EU’s competition sprawl as worrying as Google’s

April 15, 2015

Europe has accused the web giant of favoring its own shopping search results and broadened the case to include its Android mobile operating system. Investigations and appeals may take a decade. Brussels’ ambitious lack of focus is similar to what threatens ever-expanding Google.

UK banks have much to fear from latest probe

July 18, 2014

Britain’s top antitrust watchdog has warned lenders to expect a full-blown competition investigation. Forced divestments would be a surprising outcome. But given the persistence of concern in spite of past probes, investors should brace for radical, profit-sapping remedies.

Alibaba tries out role of the noble monopolist

May 20, 2014

The retailing group effectively owns Chinese online shoppers. Its payment affiliate is the biggest game in town. Both are attractions for the upcoming IPO. As China’s monopoly regime matures, Alibaba’s challenge will be showing its dominance helps the market rather than restricts it.

Blocking a deal isn’t always best antitrust answer

By Rob Cox
September 30, 2011

Blocking mergers is the bluntest tool in an antitrust watchdog’s armory. But as the case of Live Nation Entertainment shows, aborting deals isn’t always necessary to foster competition - extracting concessions can work instead.

Berlusconi’s loss will be Murdoch’s gain in TV

November 17, 2011

Silvio Berlusconi's media empire faces a painful adjustment to a new Italy. A stuttering domestic economy bodes ill for the advertising that's the lifeblood of his television company, Mediaset. And his main private competitor, Rupert Murdoch's Sky Italia, should benefit now that Italy's lawmaker-in-chief isn't a direct commercial rival.

Europe brings the pain for UPS and TNT

January 14, 2013

Competition watchdogs are barking again, after killing DB-NYSE last year. A likely EU veto has led the U.S. courier to drop a $7 bln bid for its Dutch peer. TNT’s stock is down 50 pct. If the group’s strategy since its demerger has been to get bought, it needs to think again.