China’s cyber crackdown: A guide for the perplexed

April 24, 2015

The People’s Republic is squeezing technology companies. New banking rules and counter-terrorism legislation could make it harder for foreign groups to operate in the expanding market. Is security just an excuse to protect domestic players? Breakingviews cracks the code.

Comcast’s boss should live to buy another day

April 23, 2015

A collapse of the $45 bln Time Warner Cable deal would leave controlling shareholder Brian Roberts with a second ugly scar. Overconfidence also contributed to a failed tilt at Disney a decade ago. Comcast rebounded with NBCU, which suggests Roberts will be back before too long.

Bernanke musters maximum revolving-door dignity

April 16, 2015

The Fed boss turned blogger will advise $25 bln hedge fund Citadel. Critics may object, and the move won’t help the U.S. central bank’s image of being above the fray. But former public servants deserve to work for pay. At least Bernanke waited over a year and didn’t join a bank.

EU’s competition sprawl as worrying as Google’s

April 15, 2015

Europe has accused the web giant of favoring its own shopping search results and broadened the case to include its Android mobile operating system. Investigations and appeals may take a decade. Brussels’ ambitious lack of focus is similar to what threatens ever-expanding Google.

Immelt’s SIFI escape route is tough to follow

April 10, 2015

The $280 bln GE is offloading most of its finance unit and should be able to ditch the systemic tag imposed by watchdogs. That will free CEO Jeff Immelt’s remaining empire from onerous rules. Big U.S. banks might fancy similar liberty, but they are more tightly hemmed in.

ECB torn between two roles in Greek bank support

March 20, 2015

The central bank’s monetary policy wing has delayed a plan by its supervisory arm to legally stop Greek banks increasing their stocks of illiquid assets. The stability-searching supervisors have the right idea. But the policy group has an even higher political responsibility.

Wall Street owners finally get breakup bona fides

March 19, 2015

The SEC is allowing BofA shareholders to vote on whether to spin off Merrill Lynch. The watchdog previously muzzled similar requests at JPMorgan and elsewhere. Banks won’t like the scrutiny, but it’s a worthwhile debate to air publicly, as they’re running the numbers internally.

Fake-free China might not be better off

February 11, 2015

The People’s Republic is talking a good game on fighting counterfeit goods. Online exchanges like Alibaba’s Taobao are a handy target, and make it easier to find brand thieves. The trouble is that incentives aren’t straightforward. Stamp out fakes and there would be many losers.

Watch the small print in Qualcomm’s China fight

February 4, 2015

Antitrust regulators are putting together a case against the U.S. chipmaker. If it’s found guilty, a big fine would grab the headlines. But forcing Qualcomm to lower patent fees, or banning the company from linking royalties to chip sales, could do greater financial damage.

Credit crackdown exposes flimsiness of China rally

January 19, 2015

Mainland stocks dropped 5 pct after regulators temporarily banned three brokers from opening new margin-trading accounts. The controls may cool rather than kill Chinese investors’ new enthusiasm for shares. But it’s a reminder how much the market mania depends on borrowed money.