Breakingviews

UK slaps capitalism in its “unacceptable” face

July 25, 2016

Lawmakers angry at retailer BHS's collapse are mulling further regulation to protect jobs and pensions. The fiasco epitomises what Prime Minister Theresa May decries as "anything goes" business. It takes UK corporate life into interesting - and potentially painful - moral areas.

Malaysia fiasco undercuts Goldman’s standards push

July 22, 2016

After the financial crisis, the Wall Street firm overhauled its business practices in an effort to avoid big reputational as well as financial risks. But its dealings with scandal-hit sovereign fund 1MDB, spelled out in new lawsuits, cast doubt on the depth of Goldman's changes.

Yahoo’s failure clarifies future for U.S. spinoffs

July 15, 2016

The Treasury modified regulations on when splits can qualify for tax-free treatment. The move comes after the IRS declined to bless Yahoo's carve-out of its Alibaba stake. Similar deals have been on hold since. This reasonable government approach provides much-needed clarity.

EU’s Google antitrust push slower, more scattered

July 14, 2016

The European Commission has hit the tech giant with a third charge, saying it abused search dominance on third-party websites. It also reinforced a claim, first made in 2010, that Google favored its own shopping service. A speedier, focused campaign would better serve justice.

U.S. anti-inversion push has a harmful flipside

July 7, 2016

Treasury's plan to rein in tax-motivated overseas M&A takes aim at intercompany loans. It's a good idea to curb so-called earnings stripping where deductible interest is sent to an overseas parent. The proposed rule is broad, however, and could hurt normal funding practices.

GE’s 50 billion reasons not to be a SIFI

By Rob Cox
June 29, 2016

That's the dollar amount of market cap the U.S. conglomerate has added since it said it would wind down the finance arm that watchdogs said posed a systemic financial risk. Relative to the market and rivals, the gain is bigger still. Complacent mega-bank shareholders, take note.

Stars may finally align against buyout-baron taxes

June 23, 2016

A group of self-proclaimed “patriotic millionaires” wants to close a loophole that allows private-equity partners to pay lower taxes on investment profit. Clinton and Trump both back the idea, too. Though efforts in Congress have failed for years, fresh momentum is building.

The Exchange podcast: The Trace’s editor

By Rob Cox
June 22, 2016

James Burnett, editor of The Trace, an independent, non-profit media organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns in the United States, swings by Times Square to discuss legislative responses to the horrific killing of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub, and the role firearms regulation will play generally in the upcoming presidential election.

Fantasy-sports merger would face harsh reality

June 15, 2016

There may be logic to uniting FanDuel and DraftKings for backers that include Fox, Google, Comcast and KKR. The legal-defense synergies alone sound promising, although a deal could ignite new antitrust concerns. State lawmakers also can curb one big site as easily as two.

U.S. $12 bln utility coupling lacks spark

May 31, 2016

Great Plains Energy’s deal for larger neighbor Westar has the modest premium and coy savings target typical in deals between regulated firms. Even if synergies come in higher than hinted, customers may get any surplus. Investors may be right to worry that the buyer is overpaying.