Breakingviews

 
The election of a charismatic leader raises hopes for overdue change. Joko Widodo’s rise invites comparisons with India’s Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe in Japan. In some ways, Indonesia’s new president faces the more daunting challenge. But the rewards for faster reform are large.

Hertz gears up for another financial spin

Carl Icahn is the latest to buy into the struggling $14 bln car rental firm. Over nearly a century, automakers GM and Ford, an airline, a 1960s conglomerate, private equity and the public have owned Hertz. It’s a perennial investor plaything. Maybe Uber could even be next.

Blackstone finds way to outsource skin in the game

The private equity firm’s latest securitisation would normally require it to keep 5 percent of the risk. But Blackstone has found a way to outsource its equity sliver to other investors. The structure looks acceptable – but investors should be wary of copycats that might not be.

China Mobile's foreign foray risks meagre returns

The dominant Chinese operator is using its $73 bln cash pile to hunt for growth overseas. The strategy has failed to create value for other telcos. Expansion may help to push Chinese technology, but rival governments may be wary about allowing China Mobile to take control.

Ballmer's exit value is now Nadella's to preserve

Microsoft’s market capitalization grew by over $100 bln from the day about a year ago the longtime CEO said he would resign to Tuesday, when he left the board. With his predecessor fading from the picture, maintaining the momentum is now firmly in new boss Satya Nadella’s hands.

U.S. farm credit looks safer than houses

Washington’s $200 billion-plus subsidized agricultural lending complex includes Farmer Mac, a rural copy of ill-fated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Despite a hot farmland market, though, the system looks ruggedly capitalized enough to avoid the bailout fate of the home-loan behemoths.

Latest blunder hits StanChart where it most hurts

New York regulators have fined the emerging markets bank another $300 mln for compliance lapses. StanChart’s biggest problem is still its misfiring strategy. But such avoidable missteps reinforce a disturbing impression that senior managers are too detached from daily operations.