Breakingviews

Jack Dorsey may want to pull a Marissa Mayer soon

July 27, 2016

The Twitter CEO's plan to get the $13 bln social-media firm to take wing has been mostly ineffective. Revenue and user growth are slowing. Now would be a good time to find a suitor. The human news feed could find a home on the island of misfit media assets Verizon is assembling.

Yahoo fittingly closes portal on tech M&A misses

July 26, 2016

The $4.8 bln sale to Verizon caps two decades of deals and non-deals that shaped internet history. Yahoo got lucky with Alibaba, but failed to capitalize on its dominance with Google, Facebook and eBay. Spurning Microsoft also was a mistake. It's a one-company textbook on timing.

Verizon doubles down on ancient web history

July 25, 2016

The telecom giant is spending $4.8 bln on Yahoo's core business. CEO Lowell McAdam is betting he can attract digital advertisers by meshing the internet-search firm with AOL, another 1990s high-flier Verizon bought last year. Trouble is, Facebook and Google are too far ahead.

Activist faces long odds to stop Baidu video deal

July 20, 2016

Acacia Partners objects to a bid from Baidu's CEO for the group's video unit. The U.S. fund is right to highlight potential conflicts of interest. But it is hard to see an activist victory here, given the boss's influence. Same goes for China's other internet giants.

ARM bids best left to the irrational or desperate

July 18, 2016

Japan's SoftBank's $32 bln offer for the UK chip designer is a monster bet on the "internet of things". It would only make financial sense if the bidder quintupled ARM's operating profit. That sets a high bar for rivals like Intel, who in any case could face anti-trust hurdles.

Nintendo’s augmented shares reflect new reality

July 14, 2016

The runaway success of the Japanese group's Pokemon app has sent its shares up more than 50 pct. That's a big vote of confidence in Nintendo's future mobile games, too. To justify the move, EBITDA will need to top 250 bln yen by 2018-2019 - more than double previous forecasts.

Pokemon GO hints mixed reality beats virtual kind

July 11, 2016

The mobile game where users capture imaginary creatures in the real world is a smash. Within a week of launch GO may have more users than Twitter. Entirely computer-simulated worlds get the attention, but overlaying the digital on the physical may be the disruptive killer app.

Comcast and Netflix put growth ahead of gripes

July 6, 2016

The video-streaming service helped scupper the cable provider's bid for Time Warner Cable. Now Comcast is putting its nemesis on its set-top box - with access to 22 mln potential subscribers - as it tries to build a one-stop video shop. Those are good reasons to bury the hatchet.

Alibaba’s new candour is overdue but welcome

June 15, 2016

The Chinese e-commerce giant has promised to shed more light on the financial performance of a range of businesses. That’s a relief for investors amid an accounting probe by U.S. regulators. A better-than-expected revenue forecast also helped ease concerns about slowing sales.

SoftBank’s $8 bln Alibaba sale is late but prudent

June 1, 2016

Masayoshi Son’s tech and telecom conglomerate is offloading 4.2 pct of the Chinese e-commerce giant to pay down debt. The hugely successful investment is now more burden than blessing. As SoftBank takes a more disciplined approach to its portfolio, further disposals may follow.