Breakingviews

 
U.S. authorities are letting Windstream call its telecom cables real estate, qualifying them for tax breaks. And a partnership will shield Hess assets from the IRS. Politicians, though, are indignant over firms that move overseas – even when home-grown tax loopholes are costlier.

Shock loss at BES makes bail-in a real risk

The Portuguese bank made a 3.6 bln euro first-half loss and warned of possible illegal activity. The central bank suspended key staff. BES needs capital fast. But with Angolan issues unresolved, sourcing it from private investors rather than creditors just got much harder.

Line's $13 bln valuation shows chat app exuberance

The Japanese chat app reported a 26 pct jump in revenue from the previous quarter, pushing up valuation expectations ahead of its planned IPO. Yet Line’s valuation hangs on an assumption that new overseas users will spend like those back home. That seems like wishful thinking.

Inversions start to spin out of control

A quest for tax savings has made digestible overseas targets attractive to U.S. buyers. Hospira’s potential $5 bln deal for a Danone unit highlights a fresh supply, for so-called “spinversions.” The odd combination also reflects the perverse incentives distorting corporate decisions.

EU will find Russian sanctions worth the pain

Europe has coordinated with the U.S. on broad new measures that will hit Russia hard. The weak EU recovery will also be hit. If the sanctions help change Moscow’s policies, the suffering will have paid off. If not, it makes sense to put Russia in financial quarantine.

China's political purges call for financial sequel

Investigating ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang shows China’s president is firmly in charge. That may help sustain faith in the Party. But other institutions need a scrub too. Exposing the money trail, and those who help the rich and mighty bypass the rules, is a logical next step.

MetLife CEO should revel in his anonymity

That almost no one knows ol’ so-and-so is good for shareholders. How he handles the mega-insurer’s likely designation as a systemic threat could change that. A Jamie Dimon-style fight would be foolish. Better to speak softly and keep the name Steve Kandarian out of headlines.