Breakingviews

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.

Review: The slow, painful grind to safer banks

June 1, 2015

It’s now received wisdom that America can’t afford to forget financial crises. Veteran FDIC bank examiner John Bovenzi manages to corral the evidence in a surprisingly readable book, joining the dots from the 1980s S&L rout to the start of too-big-to-fail and subprime stupidity.

FIFA cover-up almost a dare for U.S. enforcers

May 27, 2015

In November, the Zurich-based World Cup organizer whitewashed an internal investigation, according to the former U.S. attorney who conducted it. Swiss authorities were alerted, but FIFA largely dismissed corruption allegations. No wonder American prosecutors have gone in hard.

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.