Breakingviews

BNP Paribas’ M&A machine spits out growth and risk

July 31, 2015

France’s top bank by assets cranked out resurgent second-quarter earnings of 2.6 bln euros. Three takeovers in 2014 are delivering results. Yet dealmaking sprawl has tripped up rivals in the past. It might be a good time for the Belgian state to trim its 10 pct stake.

Breakdown: Watchdogs chew on health insurer deals

July 24, 2015

Anthem and Cigna are the latest big U.S. providers to serve up a blockbuster merger. But they and their peers need to satisfy a slew of regulators before chowing down. Here’s a look at the agencies and the transactions officials may be asked to swallow in a concentrated industry.

John Thain leads way for U.S. regional bank M&A

July 22, 2015

The CIT boss – and last CEO of Merrill Lynch – secured regulatory approval to buy OneWest. It’s the first deal to create a systemically important financial institution. It should clear the way for more mergers for banks fearful of regulators but in need of profit boosters.

Bafin barbs show scale of Deutsche overhaul task

July 17, 2015

A leaked letter from the German bank’s lead regulator slams executives for incompetence - or worse - over Libor. New CEO John Cryan needs to repair relations. Improving controls and recruiting new managers complicate the already-sizeable job of boosting Deutsche’s performance.

Rob Cox: The (bank) resolution will be televised

July 9, 2015

Global regulators have made great progress preparing for the technical aspects of a collapse, and resurrection, of a major financial institution. What they need to spend more time on is ensuring they can effectively communicate the process to a world consumed by financial panic.

Rob Cox: Uber gets a pass on its Wall Street habit

June 30, 2015

Big banks break rules and pay fines. Traditionally it’s just a cost of doing business. Uber, meanwhile, pays fines when drivers violate regulations that stand in the way of its business model. Nowadays banks attract outrage, but Uber is often forgiven in the name of disruption.

Antitrust food fight messes up outlook for mergers

June 24, 2015

A U.S. court halted Sysco’s $3.5 bln US Foods purchase, saying the deal would probably harm national competition despite local rivals. A similar argument threatens Staples’ $6.3 bln bid for Office Depot. The bottom-line economics still look tasty, but legal precedent has soured.

Memo from 2020: Elizabeth Warren heads to Citi

June 19, 2015

Barney Frank, whose name adorns the law that reshaped Wall Street, has followed former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair through the revolving door to a bank board. Only the crusading U.S. senator joining them would be more surprising. Breakingviews imagines how it might play out.

Subject financial fiefs to modern Magna Carta

June 15, 2015

Companies in the 21st century can learn from 13th century England. Overmighty, overpaid CEOs are the new King Johns. They are held to account, sort of, by the barons of fund management. What’s needed is more respect for finance’s neglected yeomanry: ordinary savers.

UK blithely signs up to Germany’s worst idea

June 10, 2015

Chancellor George Osborne is to enshrine budget surpluses in state legislation. For a nation with low interest rates and sagging productivity, aping German deficit-phobia is nuts. But plain thinking wins votes because the public has learned to mistrust the wisdom of economists.