Breakingviews

China’s $5 bln robot bid does not compute

May 18, 2016

The 36 pct premium Midea may offer for German robot maker Kuka is frothy. There are no cost synergies, the suitor doesn’t seek control, and governance could be messy. Yet unless Kuka can find a white knight, minority shareholders have every reason to take the Chinese cash.

Yahoo could be good home for sidebar of shame

April 11, 2016

The parent of scandal-peddler Daily Mail may bid for the U.S. media group. That could catapult the MailOnline onto ad buyers’ agendas. Since owner Viscount Rothermere has spent a decade diversifying away from news, the best deal might be one that breaks the UK group up.

How to beat the rise of the trading machines

March 9, 2016

Buyside firms are spending more on trader compensation than on technology, and the humans’ share is rising, Greenwich Associates says. It’s a glimmer of good news for bankers whose livelihood is threatened by autobots. But they’ll need a pretty unique suite of skills to survive.

Blockchain is a zero-sum game for investment banks

February 29, 2016

The technology that launched Bitcoin could help broker-dealers cut costs. The catch: it could equally eat into revenue by automating services they currently charge for. Given the formidable obstacles to widespread adoption, it may prove to be as much a curse as a blessing.

China web finance craze sows confusion and risk

February 19, 2016

Web giants, insurance groups and even China’s top taxi app are piling into online finance. Fast-growing services like payments and wealth management are attracting big valuations. But competition is fierce, and investors have little way to judge which business models are viable.

Thruppence: Which brand of electric car?

January 10, 2016

Tesla Motors and Faraday Future, which just unveiled a racing-car concept, are named after electrical pioneers. Breakingviews columnists run the gamut from Apple to Roomba as they weigh in on what kind of association, scientific or otherwise, would make a marque with them.

Another reckoning looms for Sharp

December 2, 2015

Lenders have bailed out the embattled Japanese electronics firm twice in the past three years. A more radical overhaul now looks likely – perhaps involving state-backed fund INCJ and affiliate Japan Display. If credit markets are right, there is little value for shareholders.

Record fine is least of Toshiba’s problems

November 18, 2015

The scandal-hit Japanese group faces a record regulatory fine, a newspaper says. A $60 mln levy would be embarrassing but easy to bear. That leaves Toshiba free to face its real challenges: regaining investor confidence and restructuring laggard businesses as fast as possible.

Financial tech has as much to gain as fear from D.C.

November 4, 2015

A new lobbying group of five big Silicon Valley firms reflects concerns that Washington may not understand the benefits of booming fintech. Banks have long made similar complaints about Uncle Sam. Like them, the industry needs to realize that regulation can help rein in excess.

Samsung shows investors it can be generous too

October 29, 2015

The South Korean group plans to buy back stock worth $10 bln and pay out up to half of its free cash flow in dividends. That will shrink its cash pile and may help the Lee family reorganise their empire. It’s a small but welcome sign that restructuring can benefit shareholders.