Breakingviews

Elon Musk’s new plan will test investor faithful

July 21, 2016

The Tesla boss has a compelling vision for building more vehicles with more autonomy for a sharing economy. But Musk's missive fails to address shareholder concerns about the electric carmaker's planned merger with SolarCity. It's also unclear how he will finance his ambitions.

ASML could be cousin to ARM in next tech wave

July 20, 2016

Like the UK chip-designer Japan's SoftBank has agreed to buy, ASML is a niche but dominant player. Its tools make chips smaller and punchier. ASML would be harder to take over than ARM, but if big data and the internet of things merit the hype, it's in a good position to cash in.

Tech deal reboot exemplifies valuation disconnect

July 11, 2016

Videoconference gear maker Polycom scrapped a plan to be bought by Mitel and opted for a $2 bln LBO instead. Hefty synergies in the original merger orchestrated by Elliott oddly failed to impress investors. It's not just the newest technology where valuation thinking is screwy.

Tom Perkins sails away from changed Silicon Valley

June 10, 2016

The swashbuckling investor, who has died at 84, pioneered the venture-capital model that gave rise to the likes of Google and Amazon. Famous for his antics outside the boardroom, Perkins ended up an outsider in the more buttoned-down corporate culture his money helped create.

Review: Blockchain hopes go well beyond finance

June 10, 2016

The distributed-ledger concept is linked to the bitcoin cryptocurrency, and more recently potential financial uses have taken wing. A new book, “Blockchain Revolution,” explores democratic and humanitarian applications. It’s both eye-opening and, at times, a bit wide-eyed.

Tencent can win with a $9 bln bet on Supercell

June 10, 2016

The Chinese web giant is reportedly talking about buying the maker of Clash of Clans at an unexpectedly high $9 bln valuation. Such a big deal would be a first for Tencent. But buying the games-maker from Japan’s SoftBank could pay off - if Supercell can keep churning out gems.

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.