Breakingviews

 
The answer to that question may determine the winner in the latest activist battle to captivate Wall Street: Nelson Peltz’s siege of DuPont. The billionaire’s controversial arithmetic suggests the chemicals giant has grown bloated over its 212 years. He’s on to something.

Giant fertiliser combo looks tough to cultivate

Norway’s Yara is talking to U.S. rival CF Industries about a $27 bln tie-up. The two boast similar valuations and could reap sizeable synergies. Hence a near-$1 bln jump in Yara’s market cap. But a merger of equals is one of the trickiest deal varieties.

China rich list misses most valuable asset: status

Tech stars like Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Lei Jun of Xiaomi dominate the ranks of China’s wealthy, closely followed by property magnates. But such measures are incomplete. Cash buys status for the lower ranks. For those at the top, political connections are the currency that matters.

Tesco chairman approaches his sell-by date

The UK retailer’s warning that guidance was overstated by 250 mln stg reflects a serious controls failing. Chair Richard Broadbent recently delivered a new CEO, but has been slow to fix the board. His own lack of retail experience is starting to look like a drawback.

How Big Oil could grease invisible hand

“Pump” contends that democracy at the gas station would help U.S. democracy more broadly. Offering drivers fuel choices like ethanol, as Brazil did, might ease the grip of Exxon Mobil and its peers. The film makes a convincing case, even as it evades some inconvenient truths.

Alibaba IPO highlights SoftBank's value dilemma

Following the Chinese e-commerce group’s listing, the Japanese conglomerate’s 32 pct stake is worth $75 bln. It eclipses the value of SoftBank’s core businesses. The near-5 pct drop in SoftBank’s shares after the IPO is a reminder the investment is both blessing and burden.

Larry Ellison cedes driver seat with hand on wheel

The Oracle founder is stepping down as CEO, but his 25 pct stake in the software giant – and dual role as chairman and chief technology officer – ensure he’s far from relinquishing control. Splitting his old job between two executives could, however, lead to a bumpy transition.