U.S. Editor, Commentary
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Oct 31, 2011
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Is rock-and-roll the new stimulus?

By Rob Cox
The opinions expressed are his own.

When it comes to urban economic development, Ashley Capps isn’t the kind of businessman that comes to the mind of most local politicians. After all, he’s a rock-and-roll promoter. He puts on big, rollicking festivals, like the Bonnaroo Festival, where tens of thousands of music fans camp, dance and party in the middle of the Tennessee countryside. So what’s a guy like Capps doing in a city like Asheville, North Carolina?

Well, from the looks of the past weekend, he’s making serious coin for the people of this town in the mountains of western North Carolina. The second annual Moogfest, which Capps’ firm AC Entertainment puts together in homage to the godfather/inventor of the electronic synthesizer Bob Moog, brought as many as 30,000 people into downtown Asheville, to sample music, art and electronic geekery at a handful of venues.

Oct 14, 2011
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Imagine if Merrill had been smart like Goldman

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

Imagine if Merrill Lynch had been smarter, like Goldman Sachs, a few years ago. The investment bank would have realized it was holding too many dodgy mortgage securities and sold them off to buyers who didn’t yet think the market would blow. Those clients might have then landed in trouble. But Merrill would have avoided a fire sale to Bank of America.

Sep 30, 2011
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Blocking a deal isn’t always best antitrust answer

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

Blocking mergers is the bluntest tool in an antitrust watchdog’s armory. That’s what the U.S. Justice Department is trying with AT&T’s ambitions to acquire T-Mobile USA. But as the case of Live Nation Entertainment shows, aborting deals isn’t always necessary to foster competition – extracting concessions can work instead.

Sep 28, 2011
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Chilean Winter tests the country’s economic model

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

SANTIAGO — Spring is in the air in Santiago, but the Chilean Winter is still in season. Massive street protests over education will resume on Thursday. As easy as it might seem to lump these with unrest elsewhere, Chile’s unrest is of a different order. Fundamentally it is a test of the economic model that has made the nation Latin America’s shining star.

Sep 23, 2011
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Brazil’s Rousseff was asking for real’s selloff

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

SAO PAULO – Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, is getting the first market beating of her tenure. Adventurous monetary policy, worries of weakening central bank independence, disco-era industrial policy and even scuttlebutt about insider trading have conspired to hammer the real by 17 percent against the U.S. dollar this month, making it the biggest loser among significant emerging market currencies. Some weakness in the currency was desirable, but as Rousseff may soon learn, it’s tough to regain lost credibility.

Sep 13, 2011
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GE payback of Buffett reflects climb from crisis

By Rob Cox and Agnes T. Crane
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

When Warren Buffett invests in companies, markets almost always interpret it as a great vote of confidence. But isn’t it an even more positive signal when those same companies, returned to health and flush with abundant profits, pay him back? If so, then investors might want to use the latest return of Buffett’s mid-crisis life-raft funds to reflect on just how much better off the U.S. financial system has become.

Sep 12, 2011
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Forget the IPO, Facebook could reverse into Yahoo

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

Now that Yahoo has fired its chief executive, anything could happen to the rudderless Internet hodgepodge. Private equity firms, one of Yahoo’s founders and even AOL are said to be mulling bids. But consider a more radical option: a takeover by the rival most responsible for Yahoo’s fall from grace — Facebook.

Sep 7, 2011
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Goldman Sachs should consider its own breakup

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

Goldman Sachs has often helped chief executives boost their companies’ shares by breaking them into pieces. The U.S. bank run by Lloyd Blankfein is currently advising Kraft Foods on its split and counseling McGraw-Hill on whether it should do the same. So it’s logical that some inside Goldman have run the numbers on their employer. The results are compelling. Should the firm’s stock linger below its book value, or assets less liabilities, of about $130 a share for much longer, a breakup could be hard for the firm’s board to resist.

Sep 1, 2011
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Irene should blow U.S. utility deal off course

By Rob Cox and Christopher Swann
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. Rob Cox lives in Connecticut and, at the time of publication, was among those still without electric power.

Hurricane Irene may not have done much damage on Wall Street. But she ought to blow one deal off course: the $4.2 billion merger of electric utilities Northeast Utilities and NSTAR. Huge blackouts following the storm have exposed NU’s deficiencies in serving customers despite charging some of America’s highest rates. Regulators should take a critical look before approving the deal.

Aug 23, 2011
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America’s too big to fail just keep getting bigger

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

To hear the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp tell it on Tuesday, the American banking industry is returning to fine fettle. The number of institutions on the agency’s problem list fell for the first time in nearly five years. Bank failures are down. Loan books even grew slightly. So, the crisis in America’s financial system is officially coming to an end.

    • 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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