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Jan 29, 2014
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Sotheby’s revamps financial science – now for art

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By Richard Beales

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

Sotheby’s is revamping its financial science – now for the art. The auctioneer’s stock popped, at least initially, on Wednesday’s news of a $300 million special dividend and new criteria for investment. The plan addresses some aspects of the critique by activist investor Dan Loeb. But governance and broader strategy remain at issue.

Jan 22, 2014
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Loeb wrestles Sotheby’s over new art paradigm

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

Dan Loeb is wrestling Sotheby’s over a new art paradigm. The Third Point founder reckons, essentially, that the listed auctioneer should be more like privately held arch-rival Christie’s. The $3.5 billion Sotheby’s, whose stock is up more than 40 percent over the past year, is hardly a basket-case. Its total auction sales increased 19 percent in 2013 to top $5 billion, outgrowing the larger Christie’s. Unusually for an activist investor – typically an analytical breed focused on the here and now – Loeb’s main beef with the company seems to be over the direction and pace of broad art market trends.

Jan 16, 2014
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Googleization of Yahoo hits pricey speed bump

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By Richard Beales and Robert Cyran
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The Googleization of Yahoo has hit a pricey speed bump. Chief Executive Marissa Mayer has fired the chief operating officer she lured from her former employer, costing Yahoo as much as $60 million for Henrique de Castro’s 15 months on the job. She may have made the right call, but it’s a reminder that a sprinkling of Googledust won’t on its own get Yahoo growing again.

Jan 3, 2014
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Double logic of $1 bln cyber deal reveals hotspot

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

At first glance, the latest cybersecurity deal looks like a breach of logic. FireEye’s market value shot up by a third on Friday, a move worth $1.6 billion, more than it said it had spent to buy Mandiant. The deal marries FireEye’s threat protection with its target’s capabilities responding to cyberattacks after they happen. Even with the industrial fit, the welcome from investors was unusually warm.

Dec 26, 2013
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Casting Blofeld: Wall Street’s pitchfork mob needs new villain

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By Richard Beales

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

Wall Street critics need a new villain. Goldman Sachs has implemented a successful charm offensive since lawmakers hauled Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein up to Capitol Hill and regulators extracted a $550 million settlement from the bank a few years ago. The case against JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon is struggling to take hold. Steve Cohen, the hedge fund Wizard of Oz, is nursing legal wounds. The culture of greed in finance won’t disappoint for long, though.

Dec 5, 2013
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Forget museum art – Banksy might help Detroit

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By Richard Beales and Kevin Allison
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Christie’s says artworks owned by bankrupt Detroit could fetch up to $866 million. But there’s no need to stop there. With 78,000 abandoned buildings and a Banksy tag potentially worth $1 million or more, graffiti could help save the day.

Nov 27, 2013
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Give thanks for the pope’s anti-free market views

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

Wall Street bigwigs often lean economically right and socially left. In what looks like a manifesto for his papacy, Pope Francis takes the opposite stance. He might not, however, object to the relatively uncommercialized American Thanksgiving holiday. And over their turkey on Thursday, the rich might ponder a financial system that the pope says “rules rather than serves.”

Nov 15, 2013
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Review: At Apple’s core, a fitting man of mystery

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

Jonathan Ive is the British perfectionist who leads Apple’s design team. A new book about him by journalist Leander Kahney shows his huge influence uniting form and function at the U.S. tech giant. But Ive the man remains largely hidden behind a screen that’s as obsessively crafted as any of the company’s gadgets.

Nov 13, 2013
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A trio of finance lessons from Bacon’s triptych

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By Richard Beales and Rob Cox

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

The record-busting $142 million sale by Christie’s of Francis Bacon’s triptych of Lucian Freud on Tuesday – not to mention the unprecedented New York auction total of almost $700 million – shows a contemporary art market in heady territory. It’s possible, if a tad tenuous, to extract a matching trio of lessons for the broader world of finance.

Nov 11, 2013
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BlackBerry turnaround starts out all thumbs

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

BlackBerry’s turnaround is starting out all thumbs. The $85 million worth of stock handed to new boss John Chen over five years at least provides the right incentives. But the struggling Canadian company surely needs more attention than one man doing both top jobs, especially if he’s commuting from California.

    • 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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