Richard's Feed
Mar 25, 2015
via Breakingviews

Kraft investors bet Heinz can refill secret sauce

Photo

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

H.J. Heinz’s operating margins rocketed from 18 percent to 26 percent after 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway took the ketchup maker private two years ago. In welcoming a merger that creates a company worth perhaps $80 billion, Kraft Foods investors are betting on more of the same.

Mar 13, 2015
via Breakingviews

BNY Mellon spat hints at activism getting crowded

Photo

By Richard Beales

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

Bank of New York Mellon is under fire. Again. Marcato Capital Management is gunning for Gerald Hassell, chief executive of the $44 billion U.S. financial institution. That’s after Nelson Peltz’s Trian, armed with a similar critique, already secured a board seat. Activism is starting to look like a crowded strategy.

Mar 13, 2015
via Breakingviews

BNY Mellon spat hints at activism getting crowded

Photo

By Richard Beales

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

Bank of New York Mellon is under fire. Again. Marcato Capital Management is gunning for Gerald Hassell, chief executive of the $44 billion U.S. financial institution. That’s after Nelson Peltz’s Trian, armed with a similar critique, already secured a board seat. Activism is starting to look like a crowded strategy.

Jan 29, 2015
via Breakingviews

Say “ni hao” to Jack Ma’s Amazon-style volatility

Photo

By Richard Beales

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

Jack Ma is a force of nature, and he pushes Alibaba in unexpected directions. Like counterpart Jeff Bezos at Amazon, Ma has built online retail dominance. But “predictable” isn’t a word to describe either company. The Chinese group’s stock tumbled more than 10 percent on Thursday following its latest financial results. That followed a 4.4 percent decline on Wednesday after a Chinese regulator targeted Alibaba. The two-day loss in market value tallies to nearly $40 billion.

Jan 21, 2015
via Breakingviews

Old M&A dogs try old tricks with new activist fund

Photo

By Richard Beales

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

Can old dogs make money out of old tricks? That’s the question facing ex-JPMorgan M&A boss and finance chief Doug Braunstein and longtime deal lawyer Jim Woolery. The two have collected $250 million and a network of corporate chieftains to kick-start a fund that will invest in companies and persuade them to do deals that boost share value. The question is whether there’s room for permanently well-mannered activism in 2015.

Jan 5, 2015
via Breakingviews

Predictions 2015: Oil prices will stay below $100, and much more

Photo

By Richard Beales

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

Welcome to Reuters Breakingviews’ annual attempt to set the financial scene for the year ahead. While we like nothing better than to be right, our goal is – as always – to provide insightful, entertaining and provocative ideas in the pithy style to which our readers are accustomed.

Dec 23, 2014
via Breakingviews

Bank cyberinsurance is overdue to come of age

Photo

By Richard Beales

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

A high-profile hack at JPMorgan – to say nothing of monstrous breaches at Sony and Home Depot – has made cybersecurity a daily concern for executives at big banks and corporations. One partial protection is to take out insurance. It’s a confusing market, but growing fast. With a U.S. government campaign on top of all the publicity, coverage may become standard.

Dec 23, 2014

Breakingviews: Bank cyberinsurance is overdue to come of age

By Richard Beales

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – A high-profile hack at
JPMorgan – to say nothing of monstrous breaches at Sony and Home
Depot – has made cybersecurity a daily concern for executives at
big banks and corporations. One partial protection is to take
out insurance. It’s a confusing market, but growing fast. With a
U.S. government campaign on top of all the publicity, coverage
may become standard.

The recent break into the internal email servers of Sony
Pictures and the subsequent WikiLeaks-like data dump, stated by
the FBI to be the work of North Korean hackers opposed to a
comedy depicting the assassination of Kim Jong Un, may prove
costly as well as embarrassing. But the Japanese conglomerate
already knows that the failure to secure personal data can be
expensive: it shelled out $171 million to cover a 2011 breach of
its PlayStation Network.

Dec 8, 2014

Breakingviews: United Tech shows way for other company boards

By Richard Beales

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Like company bosses
themselves, boards sometimes think chief executives are
indispensable. Not at United Technologies. Late last
month, Louis Chenevert stepped down unexpectedly. It turns out
he was spending too much time thinking about the construction of
his yacht and other personal matters. Kudos to the company’s
board for letting him go.

The directors had a strong in-house replacement at hand in
Gregory Hayes. That ensured that investors barely blinked at the
changeover at the top of the $100 billion UTC, which makes
Sikorsky helicopters and Pratt & Whitney jet engines, among
other products. The main point, though, is that lead independent
director Edward Kangas, now chairman, had enough courage and
support from his fellow board members to challenge the CEO.

Nov 18, 2014
via Breakingviews

Valeant’s activist deal too clever by half

Photo

By Richard Beales and Robert Cyran

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

Valeant has tried a seven-month M&A experiment that boss Michael Pearson – and other corporate chiefs – should think twice about repeating. The $45 billion drug company’s failed tilt at Allergan alongside Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square landed a $400 million windfall. But with Actavis snatching the quarry, Ackman and Allergan’s owners have made out best. Valeant lost time and risked legally questionable tactics.

    • About Richard

      "Richard Beales joined Breakingviews.com in 2007 from the Financial Times, where he was US markets editor and a Lex columnist. Prior to the FT, he spent more than 10 years as an investment banker, based largely in Hong Kong. He was a director in Citigroup’s mergers team, and before that head of Schroders’ regional project finance group. He has also lived briefly in Sydney, Australia, and began his working life in London at Mars & Co, a management consultancy, in 1989. Richard holds a masters in business journalism from New York University and a degree in biochemistry from St John’s ..."
    • Follow Richard