Neil's Feed
Oct 15, 2014
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AbbVie U-turn shows Shire was mostly about tax

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By Neil Unmack

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

AbbVie’s U-turn shows its Shire deal was mostly about tax, after all. Despite initially holding firm as the Obama administration clamped down on tax-driven “inversions,” the American group has now cooled on a $55 billion takeover of its Dublin-based peer. There’s an unwelcome read-across for AstraZeneca.

Sep 23, 2014
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Tax clampdown could deter half-baked pharma M&A

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By Neil Unmack and Robert Cyran

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

The U.S. clampdown on tax-driven cross-border M&A should deter half-baked pharma deals. Some U.S.-led transactions, like AbbVie’s recent agreement to buy UK-based Shire, may survive on strategic logic. But pure tax-avoiding combinations look tricky.

Sep 17, 2014
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ECB’s trillion-euro race may start slowly

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By Neil Unmack

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

The latest parlour game in financial markets is guessing the size of the European Central Bank’s upcoming four-year targeted long-term liquidity operations (TLTROs): how many banks will tap the ECB, for how much?

Aug 21, 2014
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Blackstone finds way to outsource skin in the game

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By Neil Unmack

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

Blackstone has devised a novel definition of ”skin in the game”: other people’s money. The buyout and debt management firm is taking advantage of newly relaxed rules on how much risk needs to be retained in securitisations, to improve its returns. Its structure looks acceptable – but regulators and investors should still watch for sharp practice from future copycats.

Aug 11, 2014
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Pure politics can’t revive Italy’s coma economy

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By Neil Unmack

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

The minus sign in front of Italy’s latest GDP number was a reminder that Europe’s fourth-biggest economy remains stuck in a perma-recession. GDP has hardly increased in the last 15 years, and the 0.2 percent decline in the second quarter was the 11th fall in the last 12 periods. Matteo Renzi, the new prime minister, has offered only political changes. For the economy, much more is needed.

Aug 5, 2014
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BES bail-in leaves CDS traders struck out

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By Neil Unmack

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

Banco Espirito Santo’s bail-in has been a nice earner for some bond traders. Anyone who bet that Portuguese authorities would save senior creditors but burn bonds lower down has made a killing. But anyone who tried to follow suit with BES credit default swaps will be feeling much less cheery.

Jul 23, 2014

GSK trapped in Big Pharma’s strategic bind

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

By Neil Unmack

LONDON, July 23 (Reuters Breakingviews) – GlaxoSmithKline
is stuck in Big Pharma’s strategic bind. The UK’s top
drugmaker has issued a profit warning for 2014 after suffering
poor sales in the first half, sending its shares tumbling. GSK
cannot afford to buy its way out of trouble by doing M&A, and
its attractions as a takeover target are mixed. The catalysts
for a share price recovery are hard to see.

Jul 15, 2014
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Banco Espirito Santo could lure periphery bulls

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By Neil Unmack

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

Euro zone periphery bulls should be eyeing up Banco Espirito Santo. The troubled Portuguese bank’s shares were at one point down 20 percent on July 15, and it needs capital to stabilise itself. For hedge funds looking to profit from Europe’s banking recapitalisation, or an acquisitive bank, this is the moment to pounce.

Jul 8, 2014
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Shire can get more from AbbVie

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By Neil Unmack and Robert Cyran

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

Shire can get more from AbbVie. The London-listed drugmaker is pondering a fresh, $51 billion unsolicited bid from its U.S. rival. AbbVie touts shareholder support and is offering a hefty premium, but Shire’s board can probably extract one more increase in return for their recommendation.

May 28, 2014
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Glaxo wrestles with its past

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By Neil Unmack

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

Investors keep taking hits on GlaxoSmithKline. The pharmaceutical group’s stock price has fallen nearly 10 percent in the last year on the back of weaker sales and bribery accusations in China. News of a criminal investigation in the United Kingdom knocked almost $2 billion of its market capitalisation on Wednesday morning.