Breakingviews

 
The Spanish telecom group has given Vivendi a soft deadline to accept a new 7.5 bln euro cash-and-stock offer for Brazilian subsidiary GVT. Telecom Italia’s bid is only 7 bln euros, has less cash and is more conditional. Still, Vivendi could yet wring more out of this auction.

Bland Lagarde will escape the Bretton Woods curse

The IMF chief is under investigation for signing off on a 403 million euro payout to a French tycoon. Her predecessor DSK and former World Bank boss Wolfowitz were both ousted for misconduct. Christine Lagarde, though, has few enemies. Being dull may prove her saving grace.

Snapchat's valuation soars on tech-land pixie dust

The disappearing-photo business has turned 100 mln users, chat-service demand and the $20 mln sale of a tiny equity stake into a $10 bln price tag. Trouble is, the company lacks revenue – and none is in sight. It’s another example of technology dreams trumping real economics.

Tesco should cut its dividend

Shareholders ultimately lose out when too-high payouts prevent companies from responding well to problems. Right now, Tesco needs all the financial flexibility it can muster. With a new CEO coming, the UK grocer has a window of opportunity it would be wise to climb through.

Aggressive M&A puts focus on Thai tycoon's empire

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is eyeing more deals on top of the $3.3 bln his drinks-to-property group has spent this year. Investors have given a poor reception to his recent transformative acquisitions. A pick ‘n’ mix approach to public markets may explain some of the doubts.

Buffett and tax outrage both diversions in BK deal

The Sage of Omaha is lending Burger King money, at a lucrative 9 percent, but his imprint tells stock investors nothing. And contrary to social media hysteria, a new parent company in Canada isn’t going to fleece the U.S. taxman. The $11 bln purchase of Tim Hortons is just an LBO.

Why can Burger King, but not Wendy's, own Hortons?

In 2005, Bill Ackman, now BK’s No. 2 shareholder, pressured rival Wendy’s to spin off the Canadian doughnut chain - arguing it was undervalued, the synergies “minimal” and management insufficiently incentivized. Funny how a robust dose of financial engineering changes minds.