George's Feed
May 4, 2012
via Breakingviews

State stranglehold on RBS now only slightly looser

Photo

By George Hay

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

Royal Bank of Scotland is about to achieve a milestone. Chief Executive Stephen Hester’s five-year plan to remove the bank from intensive care by shrinking its balance sheet is entering its final phase. Better still, the UK group’s first quarter results held up despite it performing open-heart surgery on its battered investment banking arm. But while RBS is heading the right way, it remains in a state headlock.

May 2, 2012
via Breakingviews

Lloyds investors’ long wait may soon be over

Photo

By George Hay

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

Lloyds Banking Group’s battered investors may be nearing redemption. Before the financial crisis, the UK’s biggest mortgage lender was the epitome of a stolid, dividend-paying stock. Since 2008, when it agreed to rescue HBOS and wound up 40 percent state-owned, its shareholders have not received a single payout. But an end to the drought is in sight.

Apr 30, 2012

Aviva provokes subtly different shareholder spring

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

By George Hay

LONDON, April 30 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The “shareholder
spring” has, to date, been squarely about pay. Barclays’
(BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research) shareholders who failed to support the bank’s
remuneration report at its annual general meeting on April 27
were angry about the principles of pay more than people or
long-term performance. The less audible revolt against Aviva’s
(AV.L: Quote, Profile, Research) remuneration report has subtly different origins and
ramifications.

Apr 27, 2012
via Breakingviews

Shareholder rage at bank pay reaches tipping point

Photo

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

Bank investors’ anger at bank pay is boiling over. Less than two weeks after a third of Citigroup shareholders threw the company’s remuneration report back in its face, shareholders at Barclays and Credit Suisse have done exactly the same. Reforms that now flow from what is a genuine “shareholder spring” could be far reaching.

Apr 26, 2012

Deutsche and Barclays’ fortunes could yet converge

(The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions
expressed are their own)

By George Hay and Peter Thal Larsen

LONDON, April 26 (Reuters Breakingviews) – When Germans take
on Brits at soccer, the Germans tend to win. Not so for the
countries’ largest investment banks in the first quarter of the
year. Yet Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) and Barclays’ (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
fortunes could yet converge.

Apr 23, 2012

Judge fast-tracks Icahn lawsuit against Amylin

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) – Carl Icahn won a victory in his push for a sale of diabetes drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc (AMLN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) after a Delaware judge fast-tracked the billionaire investor’s lawsuit to allow a proxy fight.

Delaware Chancery Court Judge John Noble scheduled a May 10 hearing to consider Icahn’s request to delay Amylin’s annual meeting, scheduled for five days later.

Apr 20, 2012

$130 mln antique-stock claim against Coke fizzles

WILMINGTON, Del, April 20 (Reuters) – A 1917 stock
certificate picked up at an estate sale that the owners had
claimed was worth $130 million in shares of The Coca-Cola Co
may actually be worth a lot less.

The family of Tony Marohn, who bought the Palmer Union Oil
Co stock certificate in 2008 for a few dollars, had said they
were owed 1.8 million shares of Coca-Cola. But on Wednesday, one
of their lawyers, David Margules, told a Delaware judge that due
to previously unnoticed reverse stock splits, the stock was
worth $12,000 to $15,000, a court transcript showed.

Apr 14, 2012

Dodgers sale and plan to exit bankruptcy approved

/LOS ANGELES, April 13 (Reuters) – The Los
Angeles Dodgers’ sale to a group led by basketball legend Earvin
“Magic” Johnson for $2.1 billion and the Major League Baseball
team’s plan to exit Chapter 11 this month were approved by a
U.S. bankruptcy judge on Friday.

The approval was needed by midnight to allow the team to
exit bankruptcy by April 30 and provide the cash for outgoing
owner Frank McCourt to meet a deadline for paying his ex-wife
Jamie McCourt about $130 million.

Apr 13, 2012
via Breakingviews

Lloyds forced disposals inch towards quasi-auction

Photo

By George Hay

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

Lloyds Banking Group’s enforced branch sale is no longer a one-horse race. Back in December, the UK bank entered into exclusive talks with the Co-operative Group to sell 632 branches it was ordered to offload by the European Commission before 2014. A new offer from start-up rival NBNK probably doesn’t kickstart a hot bidding war. But it’s still good for Lloyds.

Apr 11, 2012
via Breakingviews

Greece’s battle to save its banks gets creative

Photo

By George Hay

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

Greek banks are still lying under their Sword of Damocles. The Greek government and its euro zone rescuers are set to reveal how much capital the state’s lenders need to deal with the recent haircut on Greek sovereign debt, with estimates extending up to 50 billion euros. A 21 percent jump in Greek bank share prices on April 10 reflects hope that financial engineering could yet cut the final bill.

    • About George

      "George Hay coordinates European financial coverage and writes about macroeconomics, the euro zone and UK/European financial policy. He covered European banks for Breakingviews during the financial crisis, and has also worked as a correspondent for AFX News and at United Business Media. He attended Edinburgh University and his work has been recognised at the UK’s Business Journalist of the Year Awards. Follow George on Twitter @gfhay"
    • Follow George