Breakingviews

Rupert Murdoch’s step back propels dynasty forward

June 11, 2015

The octogenarian mogul is starting to hand off the Fox media empire to his two sons. Ceding the CEO title to James and making Lachlan an executive chairman should rile non-Murdoch shareholders, who routinely snub the brothers. Chase Carey’s exit crowns the royal succession.

Beware a bluff from poker-playing Dish boss

June 4, 2015

Charlie Ergen would be making a bold bet by merging his $35 bln U.S. satellite operator with similarly-sized wireless provider T-Mobile US. Given the spectrum Dish has accumulated, a deal could make sense. Ergen has proven wily, though, and plays his cards very carefully.

Focus Media sets tone for China’s shifting market

June 3, 2015

The Chinese advertising firm’s reverse listing in Shenzhen values it at $7.4 bln, twice what it was delisted for in New York two years ago. Dizzying valuations have reduced the appeal of foreign markets. For those with a taste for financial engineering, the door is now ajar.

Bloomberg outage highlights another bank weakness

April 17, 2015

The financial network’s global downtime may have been a problem only for the very rich – and a boon for City pubs. But it prompted the Bank of England to remind banks it’s there as a lender of last resort, raising questions about traders’ heavy reliance on a few fallible systems.

Response to Paris attacks caught between two risks

January 8, 2015

The killings at the Charlie Hebdo weekly put French and European authorities at the confluence of two dangers – individual acts of violence and excessive countermeasures. Fringe parties may benefit if the response is too weak. Media freedom might suffer if it is too strong.

Facebook’s next goal: crack the Socialist network

December 11, 2014

Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s attempt to charm China’s censorship tsar has earned justified dislikes. It’s no longer unthinkable though that the social network could be allowed back into the People’s Republic. The challenge is to wrest new friends from huge local rivals.

China great wall of content could be more than fad

November 20, 2014

Smartphone maker Xiaomi and e-commerce giant Alibaba are stretching their business models by investing in online TV programming. If viewers pay up content might turn fickle ad revenues and one-off sales of hardware into predictable revenue streams.

Review: Through a distorting mirror, darkly

November 14, 2014

William Gibson’s novel “The Peripheral” paints future worlds that are built of present fears writ large. Algorithms not only roil financial markets, they travel in time. Nanotech eats people. Money corrupts and spies surveil, even more than now. Yet human decency has a chance.

Carlyle buys a shovel-maker for deal gold rush

November 5, 2014

The private equity firm is teaming up with publisher Euromoney for a $700 mln buyout of Dealogic, the financial data provider. With IPOs, debt issuance and M&A soaring, the acquisition will be a 2014 test of an old adage: in most booms it pays to sell the necessary tools.

Publicis overpays with $3.7 bln digital takeover

November 3, 2014

The French ad giant is buying U.S. digital specialist Sapient. The all-cash takeover comes at a big premium and with limited scope for synergies. This looks a value-destructive attempt to distract from Publicis’ faltering performance after its failed merger with Omnicom.