Christopher's Feed
Aug 22, 2014
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Dynegy’s $6.25 bln grab marks return of ambition

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By Christopher Swann

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

Dynegy only got out of bankruptcy two years ago. Now two deals worth $6.25 billion, announced on Friday, mark a return of ambition for the U.S. power company. It once tried to buy Enron and eventually went bust after a spat involving activist Carl Icahn. The purchases look sensible, but the lesson from Dynegy’s past is to avoid getting carried away.

Aug 14, 2014
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Venezuela digs way to distressed seller status

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By Christopher Swann

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

Venezuela is digging its way to distressed seller status. The country wants to offload Citgo, its U.S. refinery and pipelines unit. It may be worth up to $15 billion, money that’s sorely needed thanks to President Nicolas Maduro’s barmy economic policies. And the drop in value of heavy-oil assets like Citgo owns makes it a bad time to sell.

Aug 11, 2014
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Kinder Morgan’s large-number solution: get bigger

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By Christopher Swann

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

Richard Kinder’s master class in financial engineering is back in session. The Kinder Morgan boss struck $71 billion of deals to unite his sprawling U.S. pipeline empire. Various partnerships had reached a scale that was limiting returns. Kinder somehow managed to solve this size quandary by getting bigger.

Jul 31, 2014
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REITs and MLPs make tax inversions a diversion

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By Christopher Swann

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

A couple of U.S. home-grown tax breaks are making M&A inversions look like a diversion. American authorities are letting Windstream designate its telecom cables as real estate, qualifying them for tax breaks. And a partnership will shield assets of energy firm Hess from the Internal Revenue Service. Politicians, though, are indignant over firms that move overseas – even when home-grown tax loopholes are costlier.

Jun 27, 2014
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Soros takes sub-quantum leap into activism

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By Christopher Swann

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

Is George Soros turning activist? His $29 billion hedge fund has famously confronted governments. But facing off with a $1 billion U.S. oil and gas company is novel. The move gives underperforming corporate bosses another scourge to fear.

Jun 18, 2014
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Elon Musk applies his magic touch to M&A

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By Christopher Swann

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

Elon Musk is applying his magic touch to M&A. A $350 million acquisition of solar panel maker Silevo added $900 million to the market value of SolarCity, where the inventor and entrepreneur is chairman and biggest shareholder. It’s an investment in an efficient technology and a hedge against rising import tariffs. Manufacturing, however, is the riskiest part of solar, and Musk is a more proven builder than buyer.

May 14, 2014
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What Lagarde should’ve told Smith College’s grads

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By Christopher Swann and Rob Cox
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

International Monetary Fund boss Christine Lagarde wimped out of speaking at Smith College’s commencement after a student petition accused the fund of supporting “patriarchal systems.” The fund has made many mistakes over the years. But that critique is mostly old hat. The IMF, particularly under Lagarde, has fostered social spending and championed female rights. Here’s what she ought to have told the 672 women graduating from the university in Northampton, Massachusetts on May 18.

May 8, 2014
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Stanford’s snub to coal typical of Silicon Valley

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By Christopher Swann

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

Stanford’s snub to coal is typical of Silicon Valley. The black rock is an easy target for the university’s $18.7 billion endowment, which is bigger than the top five U.S. coal firms combined. But shouldn’t the principle behind it, reversing global warming, also apply to oil companies, including Stanford donor Chevron? Like Valley tech tycoons, the Palo Alto school seems to shun some evils only so far.

Jan 16, 2014
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World Bank boss Kim tested by Honduran loan fracas

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

Newish World Bank President Jim Kim’s goal of cutting $400 million from the multilateral lender’s budget just got harder. With the Washington-based institution under fire for lending to a Honduran company accused of thuggish behavior, the temptation will be to add to red tape. That would slow the already sluggish loan process and impede efforts to cut poverty.

Jan 7, 2014
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Hard to find phoenix in ashes of Batista’s empire

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

 

It’s hard to find a phoenix in the ashes of Eike Batista’s empire. There are real assets buried under the tycoon’s collapsed EBX Group. Even so, the onetime flagship energy explorer will emerge with poor growth prospects. Investors have already priced in big things for the port and electricity arms. And too much depends on a resurgent Brazilian economy.

    • About Christopher

      "I am a columnist at Thomson Reuters focusing on the energy industry and hedge funds. Prior to this I worked at Bloomberg and the Financial Times."
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