Breakingviews

 
The U.S. attack on companies relocating to avoid taxes will calm pharma’s M&A binge. Deals like AbbVie’s purchase of Shire may survive on strategic logic. Pure tax-driven combinations, like Mylan/Abbott, look tricky. That lessens AstraZeneca’s vulnerability to a bid from Pfizer.

Is "stranded costs" a euphemism for fat?

The answer to that question may determine the winner in the latest activist battle to captivate Wall Street: Nelson Peltz’s siege of DuPont. The billionaire’s controversial arithmetic suggests the chemicals giant has grown bloated over its 212 years. He’s on to something.

Giant fertiliser combo looks tough to cultivate

Norway’s Yara is talking to U.S. rival CF Industries about a $27 bln tie-up. The two boast similar valuations and could reap sizeable synergies. Hence a near-$1 bln jump in Yara’s market cap. But a merger of equals is one of the trickiest deal varieties.

China rich list misses most valuable asset: status

Tech stars like Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Lei Jun of Xiaomi dominate the ranks of China’s wealthy, closely followed by property magnates. But such measures are incomplete. Cash buys status for the lower ranks. For those at the top, political connections are the currency that matters.

Tesco chairman approaches his sell-by date

The UK retailer’s warning that guidance was overstated by 250 mln stg reflects a serious controls failing. Chair Richard Broadbent recently delivered a new CEO, but has been slow to fix the board. His own lack of retail experience is starting to look like a drawback.

How Big Oil could grease invisible hand

“Pump” contends that democracy at the gas station would help U.S. democracy more broadly. Offering drivers fuel choices like ethanol, as Brazil did, might ease the grip of Exxon Mobil and its peers. The film makes a convincing case, even as it evades some inconvenient truths.

Alibaba IPO highlights SoftBank's value dilemma

Following the Chinese e-commerce group’s listing, the Japanese conglomerate’s 32 pct stake is worth $75 bln. It eclipses the value of SoftBank’s core businesses. The near-5 pct drop in SoftBank’s shares after the IPO is a reminder the investment is both blessing and burden.