Breakingviews

Dixon: EU could fall apart without flexibility

By Hugo Dixon
December 21, 2015

Brussels’ knee-jerk reaction to crises is to ask for more power. Its latest series of problems has fuelled right-wing populism, which feeds off the idea that the EU already has too much influence. Unless the bloc adopts more decentralised solutions, it could unravel.

Sanofi and Boehringer scratch each others’ backs

December 15, 2015

The French pharma group is swapping its animal health business for the consumer arm of the German company. The 23 billion euro deal helps both while avoiding the risk of expensive M&A. Boehringer may have a marginally better deal, but Sanofi’s need is probably greater.

New Renault-Nissan pact is only roadside repair

December 14, 2015

France’s growing power at Renault is curbed, as is the French carmaker’s sway in Japan. It ends months of distraction for the auto alliance led by Carlos Ghosn. But the fiddly legal fixes only go so far. It would be better to see the duo drive towards a full merger.

O2 deal may get hung up on UK telco concessions

December 9, 2015

Brussels’ trustbusters are assessing the market impact of Hutchison’s 10 bln stg bid for Telefonica’s UK arm. It would be odd to push the bidder to surrender spectrum: rivals have more. A demand for it to create a new operator looks sounder but would hurt the deal logic.

Dow-DuPont an activist coup on Corporate America

December 9, 2015

The $60 bln chemical giants are in merger talks, according to reports, a testament to the persistence of pushy investors Dan Loeb and Nelson Peltz. If the companies pull off a deal and a rumored three-way split, it could be this generation’s version of barbarians at the gate.

Container shipping deal stacks up in multiple ways

December 8, 2015

French giant CMA CGM is buying Singapore’s ailing Neptune Orient Lines for $2.4 billion plus debt. Offering majority owner Temasek and public shareholders close to book value – a 49 percent premium – looks generous. But the unlisted buyer can chart a course to value creation.

Far-right poll success jeopardises French reforms

December 7, 2015

Marine Le Pen’s National Front won more votes than mainstream rivals in the first round of regional elections. Anti-euro and anti-immigration, the party espouses protectionism and state intervention. Its rise may force the ruling Socialists to rethink economic reform plans.

Dixon: EU-Turkey deal is historic, if it sticks

By Hugo Dixon
November 30, 2015

The EU has dangled the prospect that Turkey can join the bloc, offered to liberalise visas and promised the government a chunk of cash in return for Ankara agreeing to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. The snag is that not all of the pact looks deliverable.

Air Liquide’s bid for Airgas leaves value vacuum

November 18, 2015

The French gas company’s $13.4 billion acquisition melds two complementary businesses – the larger Air Liquide supplies mainly big customers; its U.S. rival serves smaller outfits. Yet unless the buyer can superheat the synergies, the deal will leave its shareholders worse off.

EasyJet’s brio bodes ill for Lufthansa, Air France

November 17, 2015

On the back of an 18 pct jump in pre-tax profit in 2015, the UK budget carrier is ordering more planes to step up growth and expand into new routes. The confidence is merited. High-cost legacy carriers are too bogged down by labour unrest to fight more nimble low-cost rivals.