Breakingviews

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.

RWE and DONG at opposite ends of green power shift

May 12, 2016

The soon-to-IPO Danish utility DONG embraced renewable energy early. The result is strong growth and healthy returns. Late movers like German RWE are suffering badly. Its shares have more than halved in three years. Capital is leaving the old and dirty, and going into the new.

Digesting Krispy Kreme may require more sweetener

May 9, 2016

JAB has baked a 25 pct premium into its $1.4 bln offer to take the donut maker private. The billionaire-backed owner of coffee sellers Keurig and Peet’s should be able to boost sales and margins. But Krispy Kreme may prove too appetizing for others to pass up without a fight.

Stupid names can’t hurt good companies

May 5, 2016

Healthineers, Siemens’ new brand for its healthcare unit, is reminiscent of a hero in a 1950s science fiction comic. Users of its brain-scanners are unlikely to care. For investors the goofy name is, at the margin, a good thing: it shows a spin-off may have become more likely.

Deutsche Bank upgrades from dire to depressing

April 28, 2016

The German lender made first-quarter earnings of 236 mln euros, confounding forecasts for a loss about that size. But Deutsche’s capital position fell, return on equity was just 1.4 pct and the only bit that really beat revenue expectations was Postbank, which is on the block.

Daimler’s emissions snootiness grinds to a halt

April 22, 2016

The German carmaker has vigorously refuted environmentalists’ accusations it is another VW. Now U.S. authorities have requested an emissions probe. It’s possible that any infringements are technical, relating to disclosure oversights. But shareholders have grounds to feel edgy.