U.S. Editor, Commentary
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Nov 17, 2011
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Bankers not entirely political pariahs

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

After the financial crisis, it became conventional wisdom that bankers would be unwelcome in the corridors of power. Never again would a Goldman Sachs chief like Hank Paulson get to determine the fate of global financial affairs, or so went the logic. Yet a series of top nominations worldwide show bankers aren’t as toxic as all that. As distasteful as that may be to some, it makes a degree of sense.

Nov 7, 2011
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When is a merger-of-equals really a takeover?

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

When is a merger-of-equals really a takeover? One easy way to tell is when the top brass get rich and undeserved paydays. There’s probably no better live example than the just-delayed sale of Massachusetts electric utility NSTAR. Its top five executives could feast on as much as $50 million in severance and change-of-control payments despite labeling their deal as one of mutual control for both sets of shareholders. As regulators probe the union more deeply, investors may want to do the same.

Nov 3, 2011
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Less, not more, better for New England utilities

By Rob Cox
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist, and a Northeast Utilities customer. The opinions expressed are his own.

The moneyed folk inhabiting the Connecticut environs of hedge fund town Greenwich wield plenty of power. But many of them have lately been powerless. For the second time in barely more than two months, a huge swath of the two million captive customers of Northeast Utilities – which covers territory from the Constitution State up through Western Massachusetts and into New Hampshire – have spent too many days without electricity.

Nov 1, 2011
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Rock’n'roll becomes form of economic stimulus

By Rob Cox
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. 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’n’roll promoter. He puts on big, rollicking festivals, like the Bonnaroo Music and Arts 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?

Oct 31, 2011
via Fan Fare

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.

    • 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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