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Jul 23, 2012
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Can Citic avoid the investment bank buyer’s curse?

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By Rob Cox and Wei Gu

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

Can Citic avoid the investment bank buyers’ curse? The Chinese securities firm is paying $1.3 billion for Credit Agricole’s CLSA broker business. Avoiding another Dresdner/Wasserstein, Nomura/Lehman or Credit Suisse/DLJ would be hard for any bank – much less one controlled by the Beijing government. Arm’s length management alone is unlikely to make this deal different.

Jul 20, 2012
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Heineken tries to take the Asian Tiger by the toe

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By Rob Cox

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

Heineken is trying to catch the Asian tiger by the toe. The Dutch brewer launched a $6 billion bid to take control of Asia Pacific Breweries, its longtime Asian partner, pitting it against a thirsty Thai beer mogul and Japan’s Kirin. It’s a bold move for conservative Heineken that will put Singapore’s corporate governance bona fides to the test.

Jul 17, 2012
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Yahoo tackles existential problem with engineering

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By Rob Cox

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

Yahoo is tackling an existential problem not with a philosopher king, but an engineer. The internet grab bag has hired Marissa Mayer, one of the few females to rise up through Silicon Valley’s geek hierarchy, to be its next chief executive. She’s certainly qualified – and no doubt itching – to become CEO of something. But Yahoo’s manifold problems won’t so easily be solved by rewriting computer code.

Jun 28, 2012
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Murdoch deal is a non-core disposal – not a split

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

After Brangelina or bananas split, two more or less equal halves remain. To suggest that News Corp is doing anything similar with its plan to hive off the print publishing businesses sounds more like wishful journalistic thinking than clear arithmetic. The Printco’s value amounts to less than 6 percent of the media conglomerate’s market value. 

The newly spun-out publisher may punch above its weight in influence, what with the Wall Street Journal, Times of London, New York Post, The Australian and HarperCollins book publisher stuffed into its portfolio. And from a public relations perspective, these have been the activities – specifically the UK newspapers – that have generated all of the mostly nefarious headlines for News Corp and its 81-year old owner Rupert Murdoch over the past year. 

Jun 25, 2012
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Man U’s New York listing crowns race to the bottom

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By Rob Cox
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
If Manchester United kicks off its public stock offering in New York this year, it will probably be touted as a triumph for U.S. capital markets. This is, after all, England’s top soccer team, and of all the listing venues the club could have chosen, not least London’s, it looks like Man U is coming to America.

But this apparent financial score isn’t worth cheering like an extra-time win. While U.S. exchanges dwarf the competition in raising capital this year, there’s a dark side to this distinction that investors should heed. Man U won’t be choosing New York because Americans are gaga for the sport. Just 1 percent of respondents in a recent Harris Interactive poll called soccer their favorite sport. Rather, the Glazer family, which also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will be taking advantage of the leeway America’s listing standards offer companies to practice poor corporate governance.

Jun 25, 2012
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Fiscal cliff “Cialis plan” deserves firm support

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

The U.S. Congress seems mighty busy these days. Just last week, it hauled the nation’s top banker in for losing shareholders’ money and voted to hold the attorney general in contempt. So it couldn’t have been easy for Erskine Bowles to galvanize attention from legislators for a considerably more important endeavor.

Jun 12, 2012
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Jamie Dimon should come out swinging in Senate

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

Which Jamie Dimon will appear before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington on Wednesday? The self-effacing JPMorgan boss offering apologies for his bank losing at least $2 billion on bum trades? Or the combative JPMorgan leader who just a year ago publicly challenged the chairman of the Federal Reserve over regulation? It would be best if the latter shows up.

Jun 11, 2012
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Groupon now needs to dig more than build

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By Rob Cox
This column appears in the June 11 issue of Newsweek. The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Groupon founder Andrew Mason has built a castle. His internet coupon empire will harvest some $2.4 billion in sales this year thanks to rapid growth in its wittily-worded email offers for discount pole-dancing lessons and two-for-one chicken parmesans. Mason’s next trick needs to be digging a moat around his business. That’s arguably tougher, and means being more like online restaurant booking outfit OpenTable – or buying it.

Jun 1, 2012

Breakingviews: Fake exclusive: Zuckerberg memo to Facebook staff

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

By Rob Cox

NEW YORK, June 1 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg will soon return from his Italian honeymoon to face troops coping with the company’s busted initial public offering. The near-30 percent plunge in the stock from its debut price, along with the resulting media and regulatory scrutiny, has tarnished the company’s reputation and equated a firm built to accomplish a social mission with the greed of Wall Street. His message to employees should be humble, clear and ambitious at the same time. Using Zuckerberg’s own pre-IPO words, Breakingviews has penned a sample memo ahead of a likely real one that it wouldn’t be surprising to see turn up in the media next week.

Jun 1, 2012
via Breakingviews

Fake exclusive: Zuckerberg memo to Facebook staff

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

Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg will soon return from his Italian honeymoon to face troops coping with the company’s busted initial public offering. The near-30 percent plunge in the stock from its debut price, along with the resulting media and regulatory scrutiny, has tarnished the company’s reputation and equated a firm built to accomplish a social mission with the greed of Wall Street. His message to employees should be humble, clear and ambitious at the same time. Using Zuckerberg’s own pre-IPO words, Breakingviews has penned a sample memo ahead of a likely real one that it wouldn’t be surprising to see turn up in the media next week.

    • 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"
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