Kevin's Feed
Jan 26, 2015
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U.S. $16 bln paper deal requires precise folding

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By Kevin Allison

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

Delivering on the promise of a $16 billion U.S. paper merger may require some precision folding. Stockholders in packaging giants Rock-Tenn and MeadWestvaco will share their combined company evenly, with a roughly balanced board. Investors are already inking in $300 million of promised annual savings, pushing up the stocks of both companies. But mergers that look equal can still provoke business and cultural upheaval.

Jan 9, 2015
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Proxy fight as much about Peltz’s Trian as DuPont

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By Kevin Allison

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

Nelson Peltz’s latest proxy fight will resonate beyond its immediate target, DuPont. The billionaire activist’s Trian Partners is seeking four director seats at the venerable chemicals group, its first public battle since squeezing onto Heinz’s board nine years ago. Flexing muscle sends a message to other stubborn targets, like PepsiCo. It also gives Peltz’s potential successors experience in the trenches.

Jan 8, 2015
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Dick’s buyout has financially sporting chance

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By Kevin Allison

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

Dick’s Sporting Goods may become the next private equity plaything. The $6 billion basketball-to-fishing vendor is mulling a leveraged buyout, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday. A relatively clean balance sheet means there’s an opportunity to make money. It would, however, require healthy growth assumptions for $6.1 billion Dick’s at a time when stiff online competition is challenging many retailers.

Jan 6, 2015

Breakingviews: Clunky conglomerates put on high breakup alert

By Kevin Allison

CHICAGO (Reuters Breakingviews) – Clunky conglomerates have
been put on high alert. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn
descended on Wisconsin-based Manitowoc just before the
new year, urging it to separate construction cranes from its ice
machines. Companies with such head-scratching pairings make easy
targets for freshly invigorated uppity investors. The likes of
Pitney Bowes, The Andersons and JBT may
want to keep vigilant guard in 2015.

Manitowoc, with a market value of about $3 billion, would
join a growing club of streamliners. Anixter, a
manufacturer of fire alarms, electrical cable and screws -
partly owned by real estate billionaire Sam Zell – recently put
its fasteners business up for sale after failing to find a buyer
for the whole company, according to the Financial Times. And
TriMas is spinning off truck and trailer accessories
from its hodgepodge of businesses.

Dec 24, 2014
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Mary Barra gets a second first year at GM’s wheel

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By Kevin Allison

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

Mary Barra will have a second chance to make a first impression at the wheel of General Motors in 2015. The carmaker’s ignition-switch fiasco crashed her first year as chief executive. The crisis may, though, have speeded up much-needed changes.

Dec 16, 2014
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Solar upstarts and utilities head for uneasy truce

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By Kevin Allison

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

Solar power upstarts and U.S. electric utilities may reach an uneasy truce in 2015. The soaring popularity of solar installations is helping to cut carbon emissions. But the trend upsets big electricity providers trying to make a return on grid investments. Utilities’ attempts to slap fees on solar users sparked uproar in 2014. Cost-sharing may take some heat out of the debate.

Nov 24, 2014
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Brazil’s epic water crisis a global wake-up call

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By Kevin Allison and Antony Currie

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

One of the world’s biggest cities is running out of water. Sao Paulo, a city of 20 million people, could run dry within weeks. The humanitarian and economic cost would be immense. The fiasco should be a global wake-up call for other metropolises.

Nov 19, 2014
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Activist row bigger than Keystone for TransCanada

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By Kevin Allison

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

A sparring match with an activist is a bigger deal for TransCanada than the company’s troubled Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed $8 billion conduit of tar-sands oil from Alberta to Texas failed to muster enough votes in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday night. But even if the long-delayed project dies, the lost value could pale next to the extra lucre a New York hedge fund thinks shareholders would reap from a breakup of the $35 billion company.

Nov 17, 2014
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Baker Hughes wins tactical $35 bln battle

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By Kevin Allison

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

The Baker Hughes chief executive must be feeling satisfied. Martin Craighead played hard-to-get and it helped his company squeeze a premium north of 50 percent out of Halliburton, which on Monday agreed to acquire its smaller U.S. oilfield services rival for about $35 billion in cash and stock. Halliburton’s $2 billion annual cost savings goal covers the premium, but only just – and the benefits may fall short of that target.

Nov 14, 2014
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Halliburton can stump up $30 bln for Baker Hughes

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By Kevin Allison

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

Baker Hughes may be worth more than investors think. Shares of the No. 3 U.S. oilfield services firm jumped 15 percent on Thursday after news broke of deal talks with the $46 billion Halliburton. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests the industry No. 2 should be willing to pay nearly 40 percent more than Baker Hughes’ $22 billion undisturbed market valuation to seal a deal.