Breakingviews

 
Virunga Park sits on top of reserves and between hostile states inhabited by warring militias. A new documentary casts UK oil firm Soco as the park’s top threat. Unethical exploiters are just one symptom of a nation whose institutions are too weak to assure economic stability.

Pru’s lesson for investors: trust animal spirits

The UK insurer’s stock hit a record this week, leaving rival Aviva trailing in its wake. It is a painful reminder of how Aviva lost out by failing in its attempt to buy Pru in 2006. The main reason there was no deal? The bidder lacked investor support to pay a fair premium.

Alibaba's huge finance arm is a mystery to most

It’s one of the Chinese e-commerce group’s crown jewels. Yet public investors don’t control it, and can’t reliably estimate its worth. Only select Alibaba executives see the affiliate’s inner workings. Since they own most of its shares, there is room for interests to diverge.

Dizzying revolving door risks overdone response

Going from a U.S. government job to the private sector raises conflicts, as shown by events at Goldman. And a banker’s possible role at the Treasury is under fire. Such moves warrant clear rules, but cross-fertilization is valuable. It would be a shame to make it too hard to do.

London gets closer to harsh bonus cap reality

An adviser to the European Court of Justice has quashed UK legal arguments contesting EU pay limits. A ruling against Britain is now more likely next spring. Base salaries will rise, and industry pay could remain high. It’s a blow to the BoE, but the banks brought it on themselves.

China great wall of content could be more than fad

Smartphone maker Xiaomi and e-commerce giant Alibaba are stretching their business models by investing in online TV programming. If viewers pay up content might turn fickle ad revenues and one-off sales of hardware into predictable revenue streams.

Activist row bigger than Keystone for TransCanada

A sparring match with a dissident investor may be more important than the fate of the $35 bln Canadian group’s tar sands pipeline. Bay Street has welcomed activists, and the regulatory environment is favorable. But for now, TransCanada appears to have shareholders on its side.