U.S. Editor, Commentary
Rob's Feed
Jan 30, 2012
via Breakingviews

Facebook IPO will put public markets to shame

Photo

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

Facebook’s imminent stock sale risks putting public stock markets to shame. Investors will surely clamor for a piece of the social network. But unlike Google’s 2004 initial public offering, everyone who’s anyone has already made a killing off Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm-room project. At a $100 billion valuation, it’s hard to imagine much could remain.

Jan 30, 2012

Facebook IPO will put public markets to shame

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

By Rob Cox

NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Facebook’s
imminent stock sale risks putting public stock markets to shame.
Investors will surely clamor for a piece of the social network.
But unlike Google’s 2004 initial public offering, everyone who’s
anyone has already made a killing off Mark Zuckerberg’s
dorm-room project. At a $100 billion valuation, it’s hard to
imagine much could remain.

Jan 27, 2012
via Davos Notebook

A Van Winkle return to Davos and to real problems

It was well past midnight in late January 2000 when an investment banking contact called my Davos hotel room to share the latest details on Vodafone’s hostile bid for Mannesmann. That was news, but the huge hostile takeover was no longer the largest deal in history. It had been displaced a few weeks earlier by the agreed merger of AOL and Time Warner. Such was the talk of the World Economic Forum. The great and the powerful had gathered together to celebrate the success of business and, especially, of finance.

Exuberance over technology and venture capital was almost limitless back in 2000, thanks to the seemingly limitless rise of the tech stocks. Dotcom startups were all the rage. When Japanese Internet mogul Masayoshi Son finished one panel, he was assailed by a gaggle of entrepreneurs waving business plans for him to peruse. In full disclosure, this columnist two weeks later signed up to establish the online financial commentary business that eventually became Reuters Breakingviews.

Jan 26, 2012
via Breakingviews

Uninvited guest, Mr 99 Percent, crashes Davos

Photo

By Rob Cox 

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

The most difficult guest to avoid bumping into at the World Economic Forum this year has no badge. He was not invited to the annual gathering in Davos, but he haunts the panels, hallway conversations and politicians’ speeches. He is Mr. 99 Percent, the specter of the unemployed and disenfranchised.

Jan 23, 2012
via Breakingviews

The One Percent was real loser in South Carolina

Photo

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

The real loser in Saturday’s Republican primary was the One Percent. Plutocrats fuelling up their Gulfstream 650s for the trip to Davos should take note: fellow club member Mitt Romney’s path to the presidency may be obstructed by his vast riches. The perception of lopsided wealth creation bothered voters even more and was a bigger impediment than the more carnal sins of rival Newt Gingrich. Turns out the Occupy Wall Street movement is resonating in some unlikely places.

Romney’s trouncing in South Carolina’s primary (28 percent of the vote to Gingrich’s 40 percent) will encourage further attacks on his wealth as the candidates move on to the next battleground state, Florida. Romney is clearly girding for such a fight. In his concession speech on Saturday night, he lambasted former Gingrich for having joined President Barack Obama in an “assault on free enterprise” and a demonization of prosperity. On Sunday, Romney vowed to release his tax returns later this week.

Jan 18, 2012
via Breakingviews

Connecticut finally steps up to vet utility merger

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

More than a year after rubber-stamping Northeast Utilities’ $4.7 billion takeover of NSTAR, Connecticut’s regulators have decided, after all, to take a close look at the transaction, intended to create a $17 billion electric monopoly in New England. It took a couple of storms to expose Northeast’s incompetence and prod the Nutmeg State’s watchdogs into action. Now that they’ve woken up, they needn’t be shy of killing the deal.

Jan 17, 2012
via Breakingviews

BankUnited sends ominous sign with its white flag

Photo

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

BankUnited’s stock market return represented a rare glimmer of hope in American banking a year ago. Here was a failed Florida lender rescued from the dustbin, impregnated with fresh capital and led by highly incentivized and experienced managers. They planned to forge an exemplary industry path, rolling up small banks, squeezing out efficiencies and creating more competition. Now they’re waving a white flag.

It’s easy to see BankUnited’s decision to hire Goldman Sachs to canvass buyers as confirmation that Chief Executive John Kanas and his private equity backers wanted a quick flip all along. With the bank worth some $2.5 billion, they’ve already made their $900 million back and then some.

Jan 5, 2012
via Breakingviews

Fiat may find Chrysler deal is ticket out of Italy

By Rob Cox

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

Italy is a global leader in fashion, food and art but comes up short on multinational corporations. That’s likely to change as Fiat plots a full takeover of Chrysler. Going global, though, comes at a price: Fiat’s Agnelli family may need to put pragmatism over sentimentality and move its headquarters from Italy.

Dec 28, 2011
via Breakingviews

Imagined Goldman Sachs memo that wouldn’t shock

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

It has been a rough year for Goldman Sachs. With the environment still difficult, big changes can’t be ruled out. Breakingviews envisions some of the possibilities in an imagined memo to shareholders during 2012.
 

Dec 27, 2011
via Breakingviews

Where the investment banking jobs may be in 2012

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


This is no time to be a plain vanilla investment banker. Trading commissions are unexciting. Companies aren’t splashing out on big acquisitions. New regulations are taking a bite. So it takes more than a Hermès tie and a PowerPoint prepared by sleep-deprived associates to make a Maserati-sized living.

    • 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