Breakingviews

Workers on boards only small step in UK governance

July 11, 2016

Theresa May, perhaps Britain's next prime minister, wants employees among company directors. Germany's 40-year-old union-heavy "Mitbestimmung" model - which goes further than the UK would - hasn't been the disaster predicted by industry, but it also has its downsides.

UK’s tax cut goal: calm business, scare Brussels

July 4, 2016

George Osborne has plans to cut the UK's already-low corporate tax rate to near-Irish 15 pct levels. It might stop domestic business jumping ship post-Brexit. But the prospect of a tax haven UK also acts as a bargaining chip to use in forthcoming exit negotiations.

LSE-Deutsche Boerse hangs over Brexit precipice

June 22, 2016

UK equities could crash if Britons vote to leave the European Union. Among other things, this could upend the carefully composed share split in the British and German exchanges’ merger. For Frankfurters carping at where the new company would be based, it could be the final straw.

Brexit is reopening euro zone sovereign wounds

June 14, 2016

France’s bond yields are rising while Germany’s are falling. It’s a warning markets may doubt the integrity of the euro zone if a UK exit triggers copycat referendums. The ECB has neither the power nor the mandate to fight the kind of extreme outcomes that could ensue.

Dixon: Fiscal union has no place in EU Brexit plan

June 7, 2016

European politicians’ knee-jerk reaction if Britain votes to quit the European Union will be to integrate further. This would be foolish, provoking a populist backlash. A better response would be to loosen fiscal policy while embarking on bolder economic and market reforms.

Greek deal is rational, predictable, messy

May 25, 2016

Both the IMF and Europe have compromised in Greece’s new debt plan. Athens’ fiscal targets are looser, but less so than the IMF wanted. Its debt costs will fall, but the relief is vague. There’s a hoary cliche about kicking the can down the road. This doesn’t even go that far.

Bayer’s Monsanto bid flags conglomerate curse

May 23, 2016

The German group can only muster a $62 bln swoop on the U.S. seed maker because of its big healthcare arm. Without that, Bayer’s crop science unit would be prey not predator. The bidder’s management may see this as a perk of being diversified. For shareholders it’s the opposite.

Deutsche’s latest mess looks like a Protium moment

May 20, 2016

The German bank is probing a deal that enabled ex-trading boss Colin Fan and others to profit, with leverage provided by their own employer. The investigation is ongoing. But it looks to have similar flaws to Barclays’ Protium deal - with staff interests above shareholders’.

BASF best leaving Monsanto seeds for the birds

May 19, 2016

Bayer’s bid for the U.S. seed maker puts its German rival on the spot. Monsanto and BASF work together on research and there are few other potential merger partners. Yet the maths of a $50 bln-plus counterbid would be a stretch. BASF has sat out other big deals; it can again.

China’s $5 bln robot bid does not compute

May 18, 2016

The 36 pct premium Midea may offer for German robot maker Kuka is frothy. There are no cost synergies, the suitor doesn’t seek control, and governance could be messy. Yet unless Kuka can find a white knight, minority shareholders have every reason to take the Chinese cash.