Christopher's Feed
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.

Jan 3, 2014
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U.S. utilities face German-style solar burn

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By Christopher Swann and Robert Cyran
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

America’s utilities face a German-style solar burn. So far, solar power accounts for just 1 percent of U.S. electricity demand, against 10 percent in Germany. But generators stateside are already feeling the heat and pushing for levies on solar panels. They’re keen to avoid the scorched profit seen at traditional Teutonic utilities like E.ON.

Dec 17, 2013
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McClendon IPO plan is echo of bad old Chesapeake

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

Aubrey McClendon’s new public offering plan is an echo of the bad old Chesapeake Energy. He lost his job as chief executive of the energy firm over excessive spending and conflicts of interest. A new $2 billion venture would allow him to cherry-pick assets ahead of his investors and reward him generously. Despite McClendon’s knack for buying oil and gas properties, investor skepticism is in order.

Nov 21, 2013
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Blackstone’s $6 bln oil deal signals another peak

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

A $6 billion oil deal signals yet another Blackstone apex. The sale of private equity-backed GeoSouthern Energy to Devon Energy comes at a toppy price by one important measure. Blackstone also has an uncanny knack for timing. The glut of undeveloped land owned by oil companies suggests finding buyers will get tougher.

Nov 8, 2013
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Review: Frackers needed long view to make history

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

The revolution in U.S. energy came from an unlikely source, as Gregory Zuckerman recounts in “The Frackers: the Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters.” Tiny drillers like George Mitchell and Harold Hamm persisted with shale while deep-pocketed giants such as Chevron gave up. It was a triumph of leadership over short-term shareholder value.

    • 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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