Breakingviews

Daimler’s emissions snootiness grinds to a halt

April 22, 2016

The German carmaker has vigorously refuted environmentalists’ accusations it is another VW. Now U.S. authorities have requested an emissions probe. It’s possible that any infringements are technical, relating to disclosure oversights. But shareholders have grounds to feel edgy.

Saudi’s sweet debt deal could rebound on banks

April 21, 2016

The kingdom is close to its first international debt deal in 25 years to plug a hole in its finances caused by weak oil prices. Vast oil reserves make Saudi debt enticing, but the price slump is changing the game in several ways. And Middle East states have defaulted before.

Investors need help to stop cheap Chinese buyouts

April 21, 2016

Minority shareholders are upset about a wave of stingy take-private offers from Chinese groups with U.S. listings. But they can’t do much because the firms are domiciled in offshore centres with fewer protections. Investors could find a sympathetic ear in a China-weary Congress.

Saudi U.S. selloff threat not to be trifled with

April 20, 2016

The kingdom has told lawmakers it would dump some $750 bln of assets should Congress pass a bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue. These funds are its last line of defense to lower oil prices. That the alternative - having assets frozen - is an even worse outcome is scarier still.

Deals can help Japan’s banks offset dollar drought

April 13, 2016

Mega-banks MUFG, SMFG and Mizuho are making new loans abroad faster than they can amass matching deposits. This headache has boosted the cost of swapping funds from yen to dollars, and made regulators in Tokyo wary. Buying smaller U.S. lenders would help reduce the mismatch.

Corporate America could price bigotry beyond reach

April 12, 2016

Opposition to anti-LGBT state laws is growing: PayPal nixed a new North Carolina office; Apple, Google and Facebook won’t invest more in the state. Rocker Bryan Adams refuses to play in Mississippi. With resistance now financial as well as moral, bias makes zero economic sense.

Cops arrive just in time to break up the M&A party

By Rob Cox
April 6, 2016

There’s no better sign that the current boom of corporate promiscuity has reached end days than the ferocious intervention by U.S. authorities citing antitrust, tax or national security concerns. The demise of Pfizer-Allergan should clearly signal the cycle is coming to a close.

Blackstone bets Indian IT can weather US election

April 5, 2016

The buyout firm’s $1.1 billion bid for Indian outsourcer Mphasis looks brave when U.S. presidential candidates are touting restrictions for skilled foreign workers. The low valuation and a long-term contract with seller Hewlett Packard Enterprise at least offers some protection.

Students deserve debt relief but truth comes first

March 31, 2016

More Corinthian Colleges alums may see their federal loans forgiven after the defunct U.S. university lied about job prospects. Meanwhile, a law school beat fraud claims over dodgy employment stats. Strict disclosure rules would be a better way to teach fibbing educators lessons.

Politics, not finance, is key question for Anbang

March 31, 2016

The ambitious Chinese group could probably buy U.S. hotelier Starwood for $14 bln without breaching limits on insurers’ overseas assets. Raising the necessary funding would be doable, too. The real issue is whether Anbang can keep China’s government onside.