Breakingviews

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.

Luxury faces tough quest for next big market

August 27, 2015

China’s slowdown and weaker currency have hit share prices of bauble-peddlers LVMH and Swatch. The hunt is on for luxury’s next hotspot. India and Brazil show promise, but a mix of scale, rising incomes and inequality is elusive. Better opportunities may be closer to home.

Investors struggle to find true safe havens

August 26, 2015

Boltholes like U.S. and German bonds or the Swiss franc are benefiting less than might be expected amid equity swings and concern over a slowing China. Investors are rightly wary of once-safe assets that have moved erratically of late. The mystery is where they are going instead.

Edward Hadas: Amazon’s ultra-XY management style

By Edward Hadas
August 19, 2015

The retail giant denies running a cruelly competitive workplace. But when a super-charged inspirational management style collides with an excessively discipline-centred one, impossible expectations of what staff can achieve become normal. Fortunately, the mix is unlikely to last.

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.

Trump and China give opposing lessons in failure

August 7, 2015

Presidential hopeful Donald Trump says bankruptcy in America is no reason to be embarrassed. In debt-laden China it’s different: the state throws money at avoiding failure. Both positions end in the same place. If going bust brings too much pain or too little, disaster follows.

StanChart hired gun Promontory shoots self in foot

August 3, 2015

New York regulators say the politically cozy firm whitewashed a probe of the bank and have suspended it from advising lenders. The penalty may curb conflicts and stings more than a mere fine. Maybe U.S. watchdogs will take the hint and stop waiving the consequences of misdeeds.

SoulCycle IPO endorphins inhibit pain potential

By Guest Contributor
July 31, 2015

The indoor cycling chain is inviting investors to join its “tribe” of athletes, renegades and rockstars. The company is profitable and sales accelerated by more than 50 pct in the first quarter to $35 mln. But management, growth plans and faddishness are weak points in the spin.

Twitter’s mealy-mouthed strategy is hard to follow

July 29, 2015

Interim boss Jack Dorsey said the micro-blogging site isn’t satisfied with just a 66 pct increase in Q2 revenue. His prescription for what ails Twitter, however, is cryptic. Companies that can’t express goals clearly, especially ones seeking a CEO, reduce chances for success.

Teva exits Mylan mess with $40.5 bln Allergan deal

July 27, 2015

The Israeli pharma firm has been locked in a bitter battle to take over the Dutch drugmaker. Now it has agreed to buy the generic business from Allergan. The swap makes sense. Friendly is far easier than hostile, and the Allergan businesses are just as attractive as Mylan.