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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.

Nov 7, 2014
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Sears investors too giddy about slow-mo breakup

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By Kevin Allison

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

Sears investors are too giddy about the money-losing retailer’s slow-motion breakup. Shares in Eddie Lampert’s struggling store chain jumped 35 percent by early Friday afternoon on news it may create a real estate investment trust for many of its stores and lease them back. The move would raise significant cash, but shareholders, Lampert included, would finance the deal. And the prospects for the rump retailer remain pretty dim.

Oct 24, 2014
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Duracell jolt highlights the value of focus at P&G

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By Kevin Allison

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

Procter & Gamble’s Duracell jolt highlights the value of focus at the sprawling $225 billion consumer products giant. Investors were energized by the detergent-to-diapers behemoth’s plan to offload its batteries arm. Spinning off copper tops won’t create much value on its own. But it’s a solid plank in boss A.G. Lafley’s campaign to shed underperforming brands and simplify an unwieldy business.

Oct 7, 2014
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Glencore Rio takeover would be harder than Xstrata

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By Kevin Allison

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

A Rio Tinto takeover would be harder than Glencore’s 2012 swoop on rival Xstrata. While there’s some logic to a tie-up with the world’s second-biggest iron ore producer, the Swiss miner-trader will be loath to pay a big premium, and the culture clash would be extreme. Rio is also in a better position than Xstrata to resist.

Oct 3, 2014
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Sears’ Canada stake sale merits a discount

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By Kevin Allison

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

Eddie Lampert is at it again. Less than three weeks after the hedge fund world’s Icarus figure-turned-retail boss announced he would lend Sears Holdings $400 million, the struggling store chain has announced a plan to raise more cash by selling down its stake in a Canadian subsidiary through an uncommon operation.

Oct 3, 2014
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Coke challenge goes beyond revising pay plan

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By Kevin Allison

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

Coca-Cola’s challenge goes beyond revising its controversial equity compensation plan. The beverage giant’s retreat from the scheme is a win for Warren Buffett, investor David Winters and the company’s other shareholders. But the quibbles with Coke don’t end with excessive remuneration.

Sep 9, 2014
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General Mills may smother pricey organic target

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By Kevin Allison

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

General Mills risks smothering its latest acquisition target. The $32 billion Cheerios maker has agreed to pay $46 per share, a 37 percent premium, for Annie’s, a California-based “natural” mac-n-cheese and organic snacks company. The $820 million deal is small relative to General Mills’ overall business, but there’s a risk of indigestion.

Aug 26, 2014
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Burger King tax flip merger logic doesn’t stack up

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By Kevin Allison

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

It will take more than a crossing of the Canadian border to justify investor ebullience for a potential Burger King-Tim Hortons combination.