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Jun 23, 2014
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Oracle deal provides partly cloudy forecast

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By Kevin Allison

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

Oracle’s $5.3 billion deal for Micros Systems provides a cloudy forecast for shareholders in the database giant. Even if it’s the start of a new deal binge by Chief Executive Larry Ellison – which is possible – it’s not at a crazy valuation. But longtime partner Micros is more of an add-on than a way to supercharge Oracle’s effort in the cloud.

Jun 13, 2014

Breakingviews: China’s shale gas ramp-up may surprise skeptics

By Kevin Allison

CHICAGO (Reuters Breakingviews) – China’s shale gas ramp-up may surprise the skeptics. Beijing wants drillers to grow output from a standing start to a third of current U.S. levels – around 270 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually – by 2020. That’s a stretch. But on plausible assumptions, the People’s Republic could get there within a decade. New discoveries and further joint ventures with the likes of Texas-based FTS International would help.

The development of vast domestic shale resources has taken on fresh urgency as China attempts to shift power generation away from smog-producing coal towards cleaner-burning natural gas. The International Energy agency expects Chinese gas demand to nearly double to 315 bcm a year by the end of this decade. Shale could account for between a fifth and a third of that if drillers hit a government target of 60-100 bcm of production by 2020.

Jun 4, 2014
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Voracious buyers find the meat on Sara Lee’s bones

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By Kevin Allison

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

Voracious buyers are finding the meat on Sara Lee’s bones. The old consumer conglomerate broke itself up into meat-focused Hillshire Brands and coffee-roaster D.E Master Blenders 1753 in 2012 after spurning takeover offers worth about $12 billion, according to press reports at the time. It looked like a raw deal – until now.

Jun 3, 2014
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Kellogg might make Heinz-style Buffett target

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By Kevin Allison

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

Kellogg looks like someone wants to eat it for breakfast. Takeover speculation has helped the U.S. company’s shares rise more than 8 percent since April, bestowing it with a $25 billion market value. Kellogg may be too big for a Hillshire-like takeover battle, and carries too much debt to make a traditional leveraged buyout palatable. But a deal like the one Warren Buffett and a group of Brazilian financiers struck for ketchup-maker Heinz last year might work.

Apr 21, 2014
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Barrick’s empire building deserves skeptical eye

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

Barrick Gold’s interest in a $33 billion merger with rival Newmont Mining deserves a skeptical eye. The world’s top gold miner by ounces produced is keen on a deal with the industry No. 2, according to news reports. Barrick’s outgoing founder and chairman, Peter Munk, admitted to “hubris” in past deals. Ex-Goldman Sachs banker John Thornton, who takes over next month, faces a considerable challenge convincing shareholders this won’t be another value-destroyer.

Apr 21, 2014
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Barrick’s empire building deserves skeptical eye

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

Barrick Gold’s interest in a $33 billion merger with rival Newmont Mining deserves a skeptical eye. The world’s top gold miner by ounces produced is keen on a deal with the industry No. 2, according to news reports. Barrick’s outgoing founder and chairman, Peter Munk, admitted to “hubris” in past deals. Ex-Goldman Sachs banker John Thornton, who takes over next month, faces a considerable challenge convincing shareholders this won’t be another value-destroyer.

Apr 4, 2014
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Anadarko’s $5.1 bln settlement adds up in market

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

Stock investors seem to have a firm grip on Anadarko Petroleum’s toxic waste settlement. The record $5.15 billion settlement on Thursday, covering years of environmental claims, was at the low end of a court-defined range which had a midpoint of $9.8 billion. The 15 percent jump in the oil company’s market capitalization is mostly explained by those numbers. And it brings Anadarko’s 12-month stock performance nearly back in line with the S&P 500 after a bumpy ride.

Apr 4, 2014
via Breakingviews

Anadarko’s $5.1 bln settlement adds up in market

Photo

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

Stock investors seem to have a firm grip on Anadarko Petroleum’s toxic waste settlement. The record $5.15 billion settlement on Thursday, covering years of environmental claims, was at the low end of a court-defined range which had a midpoint of $9.8 billion. The 15 percent jump in the oil company’s market capitalization is mostly explained by those numbers. And it brings Anadarko’s 12-month stock performance nearly back in line with the S&P 500 after a bumpy ride.

Apr 1, 2014
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GM can find small comfort in Toyota’s ride

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

General Motors can find some small comfort in Toyota’s recall ride. Before Chief Executive Mary Barra was hauled up to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, the U.S. automaker summoned more vehicles back into the shop and doubled the estimated cost of fixing safety issues in the first quarter. Toyota’s expensive accelerator fiasco suggests GM’s costs will probably rise from here, but ultimately the financial fallout should be manageable. Culture may be the harder repair.

Apr 1, 2014
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GM can find small comfort in Toyota’s ride

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

General Motors can find some small comfort in Toyota’s recall ride. Before Chief Executive Mary Barra was hauled up to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, the U.S. automaker summoned more vehicles back into the shop and doubled the estimated cost of fixing safety issues in the first quarter. Toyota’s expensive accelerator fiasco suggests GM’s costs will probably rise from here, but ultimately the financial fallout should be manageable. Culture may be the harder repair.