Christopher's Feed
Oct 31, 2013
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Even bankruptcy can’t subdue Batista’s swagger

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By Christopher Swann

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

Even bankruptcy can’t subdue Eike Batista’s bombast. As his flagship oil company OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes sought protection on Wednesday from creditors, the Brazilian tycoon was practically goading them. He just sold gas assets at a knockdown price to an electric utility he partly owns. Bondholders still have a better chance of recovering more money by injecting fresh cash. Pushing them too far, though, could lead to a painful liquidation for all.

Oct 11, 2013
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Review: Inequality is the dark side of leaning in

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By Christopher Swann

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

Inequality is the dark side of leaning in. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, used “Lean In” as the title of her book about how women should be more assertive. Alison Wolf shows in “The XX Factor” that elite females are already catching up with male peers. Wolf, a professor of public sector management at King’s College London, shows gains at the top have only been possible because of a revival of a distinctly non-elite occupation: the “female servant”. The result is a rising income gap among women.

Sep 30, 2013
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Apollo’s energy IPO gives new life to quick flips

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

Apollo’s latest sale gives new life to the quick flip. Leon Black’s shop is taking EP Energy public less than 18 months after leading a $7.2 billion takeover of the oil and gas company. That contrasts starkly with the trend of longer buyout holding times. The prospect of a twofold return shows that private equity can still dig into its old bag of tricks.

Sep 27, 2013
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Review: U.S. can’t afford to forget the little guy

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

The Occupy Wall Street movement failed to ignite popular indignation about the widening gap between poor and rich in the United States. “Inequality for All”, a documentary based around Robert Reich, President Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary, makes a strong case for action.

Sep 26, 2013
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Ackman has Air Products catalyst, now for reaction

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

Activist investor Bill Ackman has quickly dislodged Air Products and Chemicals’ underperforming boss, John McGlade. The win brought him a sharp gain of $100 million on his 10 percent holding in the natural gas firm as investors initially reacted to the news. For bigger, more lasting success, however, a painstaking transformation of the company is now needed.

Aug 27, 2013
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Industrialist hat suits Bill Ackman better

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By Christopher Swann and Jeffrey Goldfarb
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Industrialist Bill Ackman is more persuasive than shopkeeper Bill Ackman. The uppity investor’s exit this week from a disastrous investment in J.C. Penney underscores that retail just isn’t his thing. A big bet on $22 billion Air Products and Chemicals represents a second foray into heavier production for the Pershing Square Capital Management founder, after Canadian Pacific. As at the railway, better management could go a long way at the gas producer.

Aug 6, 2013

Fed could do with “Luddite” like Rajan

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

By Christopher Swann

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – The U.S. Federal Reserve could do with a “Luddite” like Raghuram Rajan. Larry Summers, among the frontrunners for leading the Fed, said a 2005 speech by Rajan, then the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist, was based on a “slightly Luddite” premise: new-style finance increased the risk of crisis. Rajan may actually be more qualified than Summers to run the American central bank. But he’ll do the job for India.

Jul 1, 2013
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Third time lucky looks a stretch for Eike Batista

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

Third time lucky looks a stretch for Eike Batista. The Brazilian billionaire’s EBX group may soon crash. He has bounced back from financial disaster before. But now he’s wiped out around $50 billion of value in less than three years after borrowing oodles to expand quickly. Investors share some blame. But now they’ll surely be too wary of Batista in the future.

Jun 14, 2013

Murdoch may get three divorces for price of one

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

By Christopher Swann

NEW YORK, June 14 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Rupert Murdoch
may get three divorces for price of one. As the News Corp
(NWSA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) boss heads for a third breakup, there’s at least one
financial consolation: a smaller lifetime divorce bill than
fellow billionaire Harold Hamm. Minus a prenuptial agreement,
the oil baron may forfeit $3 billion to his ex. Even after a
$1.7 billion deal in 1999, media mogul Murdoch probably comes
out ahead.

Apr 25, 2013
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Exxon Mobil running hard just to stand still

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By Christopher Swann

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

Exxon Mobil is having to run hard just to stand still. The world’s biggest company is pumping only a trickle more oil than 12 years ago – and maintaining even that is getting more expensive. Only buybacks are making growth in earnings per share look decent.

    • 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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