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Feb 6, 2013
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Liberty pushes envelope for post-crisis M&A debt

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By Christopher Hughes
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Liberty Global’s $23 billion offer for Virgin Media marks a turning point in post-crisis deal finance. This cable-TV mega-merger has most of the hallmarks of the pre-crisis boom. The target’s shareholders are being paid partly in their own cash, which will be extracted from Virgin Media through some ambitious financing operations. Leverage may not be pushed up to pre-crisis highs, but this is still a big moment.

Jan 25, 2013

“Don’t be evil” business mantra not conflict-free

By Chris Hughes

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 25 (Reuters Breakingviews) -
G oogle’s (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) mantra, “Don’t be evil,” sounds so easy. But
businesses, including the search giant, have struggled with
avoiding harm while aspiring to do good. Executives gathered at
the World Economic Forum in Davos see a simple logic: comporting
themselves in socially beneficial ways can hurt financially in
the short term, but must be good for business over time.
Immediate conflicts, however, could make that promise difficult
to uphold.

The pressure to change comes from society. In banking, it’s
because taxpayers rescued the banking system. A financial firm
that devises complicated structures to help clients minimise tax
bills is going to find itself vilified by the media. Tax
structuring is, in theory, a perfect post-crisis business for
banks: it requires no capital and is highly profitable. But it
doesn’t pass a socially useful test and can damage the brand. On
balance, that makes a decision to exit easy.

Jan 24, 2013
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Davos desperately seeking the next Internet

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By Christopher Hughes
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

To feel good again, the world’s financial elite need a growth catalyst like the Internet. America’s shale gas revolution fits the bill. Ask delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos for their 2013 outlook, and that simple idea features in most answers. It may only surface as a passing reference in conversations around the Swiss ski resort. But in the echo chamber of Davos, the notion that shale gas is a reason to be bullish has become common wisdom.

Jan 21, 2013
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Heathrow needs decisive capacity fix

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By Chris Hughes

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Heathrow spent more than 36 million pounds on improving its snow defences after the chaos in 2010. The result? More bad publicity for London’s hub airport when this winter’s first blizzards hit. Heathrow’s operational upgrades have failed to address the fundamental problems it faces.

Oct 18, 2012
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Coffey to go

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By Chris Hughes

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Greg Coffey’s retirement at 41 from Moore Capital marks the end of the big personality era in hedge funds. The macro trader’s success was based on drive, personality and talent, plus the usual hedge fund ingredients – luck, leverage and high management and performance fees. His luck ran out at GLG Partners when the Lehman crisis hammered his illiquid positions. Clearly, something else has gone at Moore Capital.

Oct 12, 2012
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BAE needs a new chairman

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By Chris Hughes

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

BAE Systems needs a new chairman. Dick Olver’s management of the attempt to merge the UK defence group with EADS was poor. He has also presided over a sustained period of share-price underperformance. After eight years on the board, he should make room for fresh talent.

Sep 20, 2012
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BSkyB should start to build in new bid premium

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By Chris Hughes

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

BSkyB shares should start to reflect the chance of a second bid from News Corp. Ofcom, the UK media watchdog, has confirmed that Rupert Murdoch’s media group is a suitable lead shareholder in the satellite broadcaster despite the phone-hacking scandal in News Corp’s UK newspaper business. The clarification removes a potential obstacle to it taking full control of the business.

Sep 17, 2012
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Key ingredient missing for M&A revival

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By Christopher Hughes
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Cheap money. Tick. Stable equity markets. Tick. Revenue pressure. Tick. Ideal conditions for a boom in mergers and acquisitions, surely? Spirits seem to be stirring in Europe, of all places, with BAE’s attempted union with defence peer EADS and Glencore’s heated pursuit of fellow miner Xstrata, while August generated a handful of multi-billion dollar U.S. deals. But not all the ingredients are in place to cook up a deal feast.

Jul 27, 2012
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Olympics feel good value, even if they aren’t

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By Chris Hughes
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.


Olympic sentiment in the UK has undergone a sudden reversal. With the London Games opening on July 27, Britons have stopped moaning about recent bungles. The media, sensing the public mood, has swung squarely behind the occasion. Whatever goes wrong, Olympic investment is likely to feel like it was worth it – even if the finances argue otherwise.

Jul 16, 2012
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New broom wouldn’t be quick fix for G4S

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By Chris Hughes

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

G4S has got one thing right in its response to the Olympics security fiasco: it has admitted that Chief Executive Nick Buckles may have to quit. That may be a necessary, but not sufficient, condition of the company’s recovery.

    • About Chris

      "Chris Hughes is EMEA Editor of Reuters Breakingviews. Chris started his career as a researcher in BBC Television’s documentaries department and then became a financial journalist. He was previously Investment Banking Correspondent and Senior Corporate Reporter at the Financial Times, Financial Editor of The Independent and a companies writer at the Investors Chronicle. Chris has also worked at communications consultancy Financial Dynamics (now FTI), as an Associate Partner."
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