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Jun 12, 2012
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Nobel endowment deserves prize for realism

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

Winners of Nobel Prizes for sciences, literature and peace will get 20 percent less cash this year – 8 million Swedish crowns, or about $1.1 million each. That’s because the foundation wants to live within the long-term means provided by its endowment.

May 17, 2012
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Facebook tax witch hunt looks in wrong place

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

There’s outrage on Capitol Hill about one tangential aspect of Facebook’s initial public offering. U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey object to co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s tax “duck” on his stake in the social network now that he has given up his U.S. citizenship. But becoming a non-American is expensive and complicated. Lawmakers might instead ask what they’re doing wrong for U.S. expatriates even to consider it. 

May 11, 2012
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Contemporary art becomes the gold of the new rich

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By Richard Beales

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

Contemporary art is becoming the gold of the new rich. This week’s strong auction sales in New York brought record bids for Rothko, Klein, Lichtenstein and several other post-war artists. Scarcity is part of the allure, along with taste and the spending power of the global plutocracy. One thing to please at least the financiers among them is that contemporary art has inked good returns, too.

May 8, 2012
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Facebook reality tops out near bottom of IPO range

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By Richard Beales

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

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appears a bit sheepish about touting the company’s initial public offering. He probably doesn’t need to be. The hype around the social network makes it likely the price will go above the indicated $28-to-$35 a share range, which values the company at up to $96 billion. But an update of Breakingviews’ discounted cashflow calculator for Facebook shows that sanity is still at the low end of the valuation scale.

May 3, 2012
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Apple’s valuation isn’t at risk any time soon

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

At about $550 billion, Apple’s market capitalization is mind-boggling. But for a company growing as quickly as it is, the iPhone maker trades at an absurdly low 12 times forecast earnings for the year to September. A new Breakingviews calculator shows why even cautious shareholders shouldn’t worry: even if growth and margins decline improbably fast, Apple should still be worth far more in 2016.

Apr 18, 2012
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News Corp finds yet another way to annoy investors

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By Richard Beales 

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

News Corp has found yet another way to annoy investors. The seemingly tardy discovery by Rupert Murdoch’s family empire that non-U.S. holders control 36 percent of its voting stock – breaching the 25 percent limit for owners of American television broadcasters – has led it to suspend half the voting rights of overseas owners. Even shareholders resigned to disenfranchisement have cause to worry.

Apr 9, 2012
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Avon CEO hire risks making corner office crowded

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By Richard Beales

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

Sheri McCoy, Avon Products’ new chief executive, should make a turnaround of the cosmetics firm a real alternative to a sale. After all, she has been running a big chunk of Johnson & Johnson, and Fortune ranked her the 10th most powerful woman in business last year. But Avon’s insistence on retaining Andrea Jung as executive chairman makes McCoy’s task look harder.

Mar 22, 2012
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What’s Facebook really worth?

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

Facebook’s 31 underwriting banks are mobilizing for the company’s initial public offering. In such a hyped IPO, any kind of valuation is possible. But a comparison with the history of the social network’s closest thing to a rival, Google, suggests that even $75 billion – at the low end of the talk to date – would be a stretch. A new Breakingviews calculator shows why, and allows bulls and bears alike to tweak the inputs.

Mar 7, 2012
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Apple needs good, not just better, supply chain

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

Apple has taken its share of criticism lately over working conditions at the Chinese factories of suppliers like Foxconn Technology. Despite the bad press, workers preparing the iPad 3 – which Apple is widely expected to unveil on Wednesday – are treated less badly than many in the electronics business. The sector in turn provides a noticeably better environment than, say, toy or clothing makers do, in the eyes of labor groups. But with Apple’s iconic brand, roughly $500 billion market capitalization and $100 billion of cash, doing things relatively well isn’t enough.

Mar 1, 2012
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Top hedgies show Wall Street how it’s done

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By Richard Beales

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

For bankers, the cash is greener on the other side of Wall Street. The top 40 hedge fund managers took home $13.2 billion between them for 2011, Forbes estimates. Yet even industry godfathers like Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates manage to attract far less opprobrium than bank bosses, whose paychecks are considerably smaller.

    • 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 ..."
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