EU data ruling could stunt single digital market

October 6, 2015

Europe’s top court has called an agreement over data transfer between the euro zone and America “invalid”. Legal alternatives exist, but will be costly for smaller companies. It will make it harder for Europe’s tech industry - and a single, regional internet market – to blossom.

VW needs a chairman from Frankenstein’s lab

September 25, 2015

Who could lead Europe’s largest carmaker out of its current emissions-scandal funk? The challenge is so big and diverse that it would be impossible to find the one perfect candidate. Breakingviews names five managers that Wolfsburg engineers must wish they could “cut and shut”.

Modi offers Silicon Valley the welcome Xi won’t

September 25, 2015

The Indian leader is visiting California days after his Chinese counterpart met U.S. tech bosses. Though India’s economy is smaller and harder to navigate, the door is open. For foreign players, India’s promised growth may outweigh China’s giant but hard-to-reach opportunity.

VW could pass auto peers in payout hall of shame

September 22, 2015

The German carmaker lost $18.6 bln in value after admitting rigging U.S. emissions. Peers paid less for blunders causing fatal crashes. But the environmental twist in VW’s case makes things more uncertain. The best analogy might not be cars but oil: BP’s $54 bln Deepwater fiasco.

Google EU antitrust spat riddled with holes

August 28, 2015

The search giant’s robust response to a European challenge over price comparison tools ratchets up a complex theoretical battle over what makes a monopoly. Yet the dispute misses a broader point: it’s hard to see how any likely outcome will make a massive difference to consumers.

Google learns ABCs of conglomerate life

August 11, 2015

The web search giant is separating cars, balloons and such from its main ad businesses under a new Berkshire Hathaway-like structure called Alphabet. The move suggests Google sees how its sprawl spells trouble. It’s an easy way to erase some, but not all, the valuation discount.

Samsung clan could call on mobile unit next

July 22, 2015

Investors may wonder how Samsung Electronics fits into the plans of the Lee family behind the South Korean chaebol. A rejig of the $180 bln smartphone giant could spur higher dividends. But the Lees’ recent win against Elliott suggest independent shareholders may suffer first.

China’s rout may disrupt online finance pioneers

July 16, 2015

Regulators have targeted Hundsun, an $8 bln trading-tech firm backed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, over the market crash. Internet finance in China flourished in legal grey areas. If official attitudes are hardening, it will be riskier and pricier for Ma and peers to innovate.

China taxi apps speed towards subsidy showdown

June 29, 2015

Local taxi-hailing app Didi Kuaidi is raising up to $2 bln less than a month after rival Uber said it will invest $1 bln in the People’s Republic. Both are racing for market share by spending heavily on subsidies for drivers. The question is whose investors lose patience first.

SoftBank’s solar ambitions fly close to the Son

June 23, 2015

Masayoshi Son has pledged to invest $20 bln in solar energy in India with partners Bharti and Foxconn. The country’s energy needs are clear but synergies with the Japanese group’s internet businesses look dubious. Shareholders can only hope the board clips the chairman’s wings.