Breakingviews

Starboard pushes wrong button on Yahoo

March 24, 2016

The activist hit the nuclear option of trying to replace all the internet company’s directors. Starboard’s right that performance under CEO Marissa Mayer has been poor. But failure to secure control of the board could hobble its attempt to force a sale of Yahoo’s core business.

Cox: Time has come for Zynga to sell the farmville

By Rob Cox
March 3, 2016

Liquidating the $2 bln company and returning the proceeds to shareholders is probably the best option at this point. Unfortunately, the once high-flying videogame maker is entirely rigged by founder Mark Pincus. Zynga is a prime example of the problem with super-voting powers.

Twitter lacks love more than numbers in its flock

February 11, 2016

Users at the $10 bln social-media platform have topped out at about 320 mln. Getting 25 pct more dollars out of each in the fourth quarter than the third isn’t bad. CEO Jack Dorsey wants a better user experience, but he also needs to turn more of his pricey R&D into revenue.

Facebook mobile growth accelerates down open road

January 27, 2016

Revenue from smartphone and tablet ads grew a whopping 81 pct last quarter year-over-year, accounting for most of the social-media giant’s $5.8 bln total revenue. With companies getting more comfortable touting wares on digital devices, Facebook still has plenty of room to expand.

Twitter’s permanent revolution invites interlopers

January 25, 2016

Four top executives have stepped down, according to CEO Jack Dorsey, via a tweet. Management turmoil hasn’t done any favors for the $12 bln media business. With the stock below its IPO price and Dorsey also running Square, a takeover could spare Twitter a fate like Yahoo’s.

Ads put Alphabet within spitting range of Apple

January 22, 2016

The former Google’s market cap has topped $500 bln and is inching toward the iPhone maker’s. Investors value the search firm’s earnings from fast-growing digital advertising twice as highly as Apple’s from a saturating smartphone market. They may be overlooking serious risks.

GM’s $500 mln Lyft stake hedges against tech’s rise

January 4, 2016

The bet gets the U.S. carmaker a way into the growing ride-hailing industry and another partner for developing autonomous vehicles. The deal taps into potential changes in car ownership and usage, and even employment – all threats to the traditional business of building vehicles.

Technology can help banks do a hard reset on costs

January 4, 2016

U.S. lenders face slow growth, barely rising interest rates and a likely jump in bad loans. They ought to pinch a few ideas from the financial-technology crowd. That could make banks far more efficient - and do wonders for the sector’s mediocre returns.

Capital drought will spark unicorn M&A orgy

December 23, 2015

Plentiful money has detached valuations on many hot private tech firms from reality. About a third of the 144 private startups worth at least $1 bln are valued at precisely that much. As capital dries up, selling to bigger rivals or mating with other unicorns becomes appealing.

Alternative lenders facing first major disruption

December 9, 2015

Lending Club, OnDeck and others in the competitive market will probably experience rising interest rates for the first time next year. That’ll test their performance, funding and credibility. Prosper’s loan to one of the San Bernardino shooters may speed regulatory scrutiny, too.