U.S. Editor, Commentary
Rob's Feed
Sep 16, 2014
via Breakingviews

Applying corporate finance to nations

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

It is generally accepted on Wall Street that breaking up bloated and unwieldy companies is a good thing. Division makes them easier to manage, more accountable and allows them to deliver greater value to their many constituents. On the eve of Scotland’s historic vote on independence, it’s worth considering whether the same logic might also be applied to nations.

Sep 11, 2014
via Breakingviews

Ecuador economic “miracle” meets maturity

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Turn on state television here, and within an hour or so a public service message will appear extolling the “Ecuadorean miracle” of President Rafael Correa. The advertisements highlight big new infrastructure projects and endorsements by experts, even an American or two.

Sep 2, 2014
via Breakingviews

Why Citigroup would be better in bits

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Nine years ago, Breakingviews proposed an “extreme idea” to Citigroup’s then-leader Charles Prince. The $240 billion New York bank’s market capitalization was lower than the worth of its parts valued separately. By splitting into three separate units, the idea was, Prince could hand shareholders an extra $50 billion or so, the equivalent of one entire U.S. Bancorp at the time.

As it turned out, Citi had bigger concerns ahead. The housing crash exposed spectacular losses, wiping out capital and necessitating a government bailout. Prince was sent dancing onto the golf course. With the crisis now fairly distant in the rear-view mirror, however, it’s time for current Chief Executive Michael Corbat to revisit the case for a breakup.

Aug 26, 2014
via Breakingviews

Why can Burger King, but not Wendy’s, own Hortons?

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Why can Burger King, but not Wendy’s, own Tim Hortons? Burger King used to argue that it was exceptional for the flame-broiling of its burgers. With its $11 billion purchase of the Canadian doughnut-chain, its shareholders seem to believe it is special in some other ways.

Aug 7, 2014
via Breakingviews

Ushering Eric Cantor to revolving door

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

The following is a fictional letter that could be circulated in the corridors of K Street, the canyons of Wall Street and the hedgerows of the Hamptons this summer:

Jul 29, 2014
via Breakingviews

MetLife CEO should revel in his anonymity

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Quick, who’s the chief executive of MetLife? That the name Steve Kandarian doesn’t roll off the tongue for almost anyone who isn’t deeply steeped in the insurance business is probably a good thing for his shareholders. How he handles his company’s inevitable designation later this week as a systemic threat to the financial industry could change that. A Jamie Dimon-style public spat with regulators would be foolish. Better to speak softly, and keep the CEO’s relative anonymity intact.

Jul 22, 2014
via Breakingviews

Listen to Murdoch’s muzzled minorities

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Time Warner shareholders pondering whether to surrender to Rupert Murdoch would be well advised to listen to the media mogul’s muzzled minorities. Most Twenty-First Century Fox believers are relegated to owning non-voting stock in the entertainment conglomerate, the same second-tier paper on offer as part of the $80 billion takeover bid for the owner of HBO, CNN and Warner Bros. studios. Despite broad investor overlap in the two companies, the record shows a clear distaste for Murdoch’s imperialism.

Jul 16, 2014
via Breakingviews

Dual-share inequity to figure in Time Warner fight

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Rupert Murdoch has one last big takeover left in him. Time Warner makes the perfect swan song for the 83-year-old media mogul. The HBO-to-Looney Tunes conglomerate sits at the top of a pyramid where content is king, has no controlling shareholder and poses few insurmountable antitrust hurdles for Twenty-First Century Fox. But winning won’t just be a matter of price.

Jul 15, 2014
via Breakingviews

Has Yum outlived its usefulness to China?

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

A year after the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989, Tiananmen Square was a preternaturally quiet place. Unlike the heart of Beijing today, bicycles and pigeons outnumbered cars and people. The only exception to the calm was a bustling corner near the square: the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

Jul 1, 2014
via Breakingviews

Solving the second-class stock conundrum

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Over dinner in San Francisco recently, an activist investor and an internet entrepreneur got into a heated discussion. The two men, with a gap of about two decades between them, were debating the practice of many young, growth businesses in the technology world – though it happens elsewhere too – to issue multiple classes of stock, generally one for hoi polloi investors in public offerings and another for founders and other insiders with super-charged voting powers.

    • About Rob

      "Rob Cox helped establish Breakingviews in 2000 in London. From 2004 he spearheaded the firm's expansion in the United States and edited its American edition, including the daily Breakingviews columns in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Rob has worked as a financial journalist in London, Milan, New York, Washington, Chicago and Tokyo. Rob graduated from Columbia University’s Journalism School and the University of Vermont. Follow Rob on Twitter @rob1cox"
    • Follow Rob