Breakingviews

 
The hacking scandal at the Japanese conglomerate’s Hollywood studio isn’t just embarrassing. It’s a business problem for a company already struggling to turn itself around. Herewith, a fictional selection of internal messages Sony’s board ought to be fielding.

M&A "clear day" defenses can cloud investor rights

Anti-takeover protections adopted before threats arise are more apt to weather legal scrutiny. It’s one reason Allergan was able to resist Valeant’s $52 bln bid. When triggered reactively, they’re considered unfair surprises. Either way, shareholders often get unneeded cover.

Europe could edge past U.S. in race to courthouse

New rules and bank scandals boost financial fraud and class-action filings in Britain. Patent combatants flock to German judges. And spats over failed investments clog EU courts. The upshot: a lawsuit boom that may topple America as the world’s business litigation capital.

Russia’s foreign banks have varying pain barriers

With the Russian banking system hobbled by sanctions, Raiffeisen, UniCredit and SocGen are well placed to grab market share in commercial lending. The vital factor will be how insulated they are against the current turmoil. Some look better placed to tough it out than others.

Chinese companies will mostly stay at home in 2015

Even with a slowing economy the People’s Republic offers lots of growth for home-grown corporations. Hostile regulators, stronger rivals, and cultural differences discourage foreign expansion. Though some will take the plunge anyway, in most cases overseas growth can wait.

SpiceJet rescue is no fix for India aviation woes

The government is cajoling banks to lend to the indebted airline, which really needs more equity. The lifeline just might prevent a repeat of Kingfisher’s high-profile failure. But high fuel taxes and the lack of a bankruptcy law will keep the industry stuck in an air pocket.

Sorry, this is as good as the global recovery gets

Since 2009, each new calendar year has brought declarations of the end of the crisis and predictions of an economic upswing. This time the mood is gloomy, and with reason. Weak growth turns out to be the new normal, not part of the transition.

Jefferies closes annus horribilis on wicked downer

The Wall Street firm racked up a $93 mln fiscal Q4 loss. Boss Richard Handler says a senior banker’s messy public divorce had no material effect. Poor trading, a bum acquisition and one big bad debt took their toll. It’s a damaging concoction that should be limited to Jefferies.