Breakingviews

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.

Wall Street puts old Washington ways on ice

May 18, 2016

Big banks are infamous for lobbying against swathes of financial reform. Of late, though, they’ve cut back. Now they’re actively pushing congressional GOP bigwig Jeb Hensarling to ditch a bill to repeal Dodd-Frank. Fears of a public backlash are staying their hand – for now.

China’s planners won’t let go of the stock market

May 12, 2016

Regulators are reportedly clamping down on fundraising in hot sectors, and may restrict overseas companies relisting at home. The desire to avoid a repeat of last year’s bubble is understandable. But China’s equity market won’t evolve as long as bureaucrats try to manage prices.

Uber’s deal with U.S. drivers looks cheap

May 10, 2016

Treated as employees rather than contractors, the ride-hailing service might have had to pay them as much as $730 mln more, according to court papers. That makes a $100 mln two-state settlement look like peanuts – another reason why the judge on the case might reject it.

Mitsubishi Motors fiasco shows reforms lack oomph

May 5, 2016

The carmaker’s legacy of dodgy testing is astonishing. At best, management and directors were in the dark for 25 years. The firm badly needs a stronger board and better internal controls. For all the talk of improved corporate governance, much of Japan Inc is similarly lacking.

Mitsubishi Motors’ VW-style crash is justified

April 26, 2016

The Japanese carmaker’s value has dropped by $3.4 bln since it admitted fiddling test data. Though uncertainties abound, that reaction doesn’t look excessive. If its cash pile halves, EBITDA drops by a quarter and already-low valuation multiples shrink, the decline is deserved.

Uber driver deal just a detour from legal showdown

April 22, 2016

A $100 mln settlement resolves claims in two U.S. states that the $60 bln ride-hailing service should treat workers as employees, not cheaper contractors. Like paying driver fines for illegal pickups, though, the pact only buys time for Uber. Eventually, there’ll be a collision.