Olaf's Feed
May 7, 2014
via Breakingviews

Alstom chase is distraction from Siemens revamp

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Joe Kaeser has hammered out a plausible new strategy for Siemens. The new chief executive’s focus on internal reforms could make the unwieldy engineering giant less complex and more efficient. But Kaeser is simultaneously mulling a bid for the power assets of French rival Alstom – a big-bang acquisition that could foil “Vision 2020.”

May 6, 2014
via Breakingviews

Tax steroids justify Bayer’s $14 bln Merck deal

Photo

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

Bayer’s $14.2 billion acquisition of Merck’s consumer care business is less pricey than it looks. Non-prescription pharmaceuticals are among the most sought-after assets in global healthcare. Demand for “over the counter” drugs, driven by emerging markets, is growing at 4 percent to 5 percent a year. Revenue is unthreatened by patent cliffs and less vulnerable to regulatory interference. Strong OTC brands earn EBITDA margins of 30 percent and more.

Apr 25, 2014
via Breakingviews

Alstom split would energise business units

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Ending the days of Alstom as an unwieldy conglomerate would end many of its headaches. Given time, the group could probably take care of its problems on its own. Outside help would allow it to speed up the recovery. And General Electric could be a powerful catalyst for the transformation.

Apr 25, 2014
via Breakingviews

Alstom split would energise business units

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Ending the days of Alstom as an unwieldy conglomerate would end many of its headaches. Given time, the group could probably take care of its problems on its own. Outside help would allow it to speed up the recovery. And General Electric could be a powerful catalyst for the transformation.

Apr 22, 2014
via Breakingviews

Manchester United’s crisis has silver lining

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Manchester United fans won’t like this, but the club’s crisis is exactly what the soccer business, and United itself, needs. A manager ditched after 10 months, a lowly seventh place in the league, an enforced absence from European football: this is the kind of drama that keeps the sport exciting and secures future revenue streams. Nothing is more boring than a league dominated by an overwhelming team.

Apr 22, 2014
via Breakingviews

Manchester United’s crisis has silver lining

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Manchester United fans won’t like this, but the club’s crisis is exactly what the soccer business, and United itself, needs. A manager ditched after 10 months, a lowly seventh place in the league, an enforced absence from European football: this is the kind of drama that keeps the sport exciting and secures future revenue streams. Nothing is more boring than a league dominated by an overwhelming team.

Mar 25, 2014
via Breakingviews

Berlin’s housing boom has lessons for London

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Berlin is becoming a bit more Londonesque. While the buses in Germany’s capital are still yellow, not red, and the locals remain grumpy, the behaviour of housing prices has a British accent. According to property website ImmoWelt.de, asking prices for one-bedroom flats have risen 53 percent in three years. The Bundesbank has warned that property prices are roughly a quarter higher than fundamentals justify. But Berlin’s boom is much less likely to last than London’s.

Mar 25, 2014
via Breakingviews

Berlin’s housing boom has lessons for London

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Berlin is becoming a bit more Londonesque. While the buses in Germany’s capital are still yellow, not red, and the locals remain grumpy, the behaviour of housing prices has a British accent. According to property website ImmoWelt.de, asking prices for one-bedroom flats have risen 53 percent in three years. The Bundesbank has warned that property prices are roughly a quarter higher than fundamentals justify. But Berlin’s boom is much less likely to last than London’s.

Dec 16, 2013
via Breakingviews

New German government to take chances on growth

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

The most obvious symbol of the continuity Angela Merkel has wanted to showcase with her third cabinet is Wolfgang Schaeuble, who will keep his job as Germany’s Finance Minister in the new ruling coalition. That clearly shows that Berlin’s European policies will remain unchanged. Other EU governments will welcome a German team committed to keeping the euro zone together – if anything even more so, considering the pro-European Social Democrats’ influence in the new government.

Nov 26, 2013
via Breakingviews

Bayer can pay more for cancer blockbuster partner

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Bayer can pay more for Algeta. After a leak, the German pharma and plastics giant has admitted making a 336-crown-a-share, or 1.8 billion euro ($2.4 billion), takeover overture to its Norwegian partner. Shares in the smaller firm promptly rose above Bayer’s proposal. That looks appropriate: this opening gambit is not overly generous. Algeta’s flagship prostate cancer treatment, Xofigo, is promising. And the technology pioneered here could be used to treat other cancers.