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Jan 25, 2013
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Ackman vs Icahn is an epic but pointless battle

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

William Ackman squaring off against Carl Icahn is an epic battle, but ultimately a pointless one. A decade-long personal feud between the New York billionaires erupted into public view again. Though it’s emblematic of their approach to investing and escapist fun for the financial community, the two men do play important roles in the markets. Their aggressions are better directed at supine boards than each other.

Jan 8, 2013
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Big-shot banker class of 2012 gets back to work

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

Wall Street churned out an unusually large group of big-shot bankers last year. One of them, Jes Staley, may offer a glimpse into what the market holds in store. JPMorgan’s former investment banking chief is joining hedge fund BlueMountain Capital. It’s not the top job at Barclays, a role Staley looked at, but it’s also a potentially less stressful but lucrative role. The Class of 2012 that includes Bob Diamond and Vikram Pandit may find power and glory similarly elusive.

Jan 8, 2013

Breakingviews-Big-shot banker class of 2012 gets back to work

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

By Jeffrey Goldfarb

NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Wall Street
churned out an unusually large group of big-shot bankers last
year. One of them, Jes Staley, may offer a glimpse into what the
market holds in store. JPMorgan’s (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) former investment
banking chief is joining hedge fund BlueMountain Capital. It’s
not the top job at Barclays (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research), a role Staley looked at,
but it’s also a potentially less stressful but lucrative role.
The Class of 2012 that includes Bob Diamond and Vikram Pandit
may find power and glory similarly elusive.

Dec 3, 2012
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Wall Street deal-making has lesson for Washington

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

When it comes to deal-making, Washington could learn from Wall Street. The U.S. budget talks have become the equivalent of an ugly, public merger proxy battle. While investment bankers are often too eager to push for a deal, they also know that negotiating in public usually only makes things tougher.

Nov 21, 2012
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Disney chief’s unlikely fairy godfather: Murdoch

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

Rupert Murdoch makes an unlikely fairy godfather. The News Corp boss is more often portrayed as a cartoonish evil villain, especially inside rivals like Disney. But by paying a punchy price for a big piece of the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, Murdoch is implying an even richer valuation for ESPN than is already attached to the coveted Disney sports brand. That in turn makes the whole Magic Kingdom look worth more.

Nov 9, 2012
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Election reveals clear calculus: 47 pct > 1 pct

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

This U.S. election provided a valuable math lesson for those worried about the consequences of income inequality: the 47 percent of the population dismissed by Mitt Romney during his campaign can wield greater power than the richest 1 percent.

Oct 23, 2012
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Last U.S. debate neglects foreign policy realities

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

The last U.S. presidential debate was an oratorical rendition of Saul Steinberg’s 1976 illustration of the myopic world view from New York. Listening to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spar on Monday night, it would have been easy to forget Europe exists and imagine the Middle East is as big as the African continent and Asia combined. Free trade got short shrift and the global coordination of finance nary a mention. Worse, politically facile China-bashing suggests both men may miss a big opportunity.

Oct 9, 2012
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Buyout risks laid bare by old strippers

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

Naked facts about leveraged buyouts have been laid bare by some old strippers. Cerberus and Sun Capital are part of a bigger group that has agreed to pay $166 million to settle creditor claims that they pillaged and ruined Mervyn’s, a retailer they acquired from Target in 2004 for $1.25 billion. It’s a reminder of the buyout industry’s asset-stripping reputation and shows why investors can’t afford to let their guards down.

Oct 4, 2012
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FT sale would defy today’s financial times

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

A sale of the FT would surely defy the financial times the newspaper documents. The impending departure of Marjorie Scardino as chief executive of Pearson, parent company of the Financial Times, makes a change of ownership more likely. Her replacement said on Wednesday the publication is a “highly valued” asset. But the paper’s status could make it more valuable to someone else.

Sep 27, 2012
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Warner Music echoes some off-key EMI chords

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

The music industry is littered with copycat acts. Warner Music is looking like one of them, unintentionally echoing off-key chords sounded by the old EMI. The deep pockets of billionaire owner Len Blavatnik don’t mean the music will play out any sweeter for Warner.