U.S. Editor, Commentary
Rob's Feed
Sep 13, 2011
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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.

Aug 4, 2011
via Breakingviews

Logical Kraft slim-down aims to fatten world

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

With America now sufficiently obese, Kraft Foods’ aim is to fatten the world. At least that’s one facetious way to explain the Oreos-to-Cheez Whiz conglomerate’s plan to split into a growth-challenged American grocery business with $16 bln of sales and an oddly named “global snacking platform” that’s twice as large. Though the deal partly contradicts the scale argument for last year’s takeover of Cadbury, it’s a sensible move.

Aug 3, 2011
via Breakingviews

Debt deal suggests ideal successor for Geithner

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

NEW YORK — The U.S. Congress has reached a deal to temporarily avoid default. That gives Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner an opportunity should he wish to step down, as has long been rumored. What’s more, the debt deal’s contours suggest an ideal successor in the job: Erskine Bowles.

Aug 2, 2011
via Breakingviews

Kirin pays high price for being late to the party

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

NEW YORK — It’s not easy being a Japanese company. Your home market isn’t just economically stagnant, it’s actually shrinking by a million consumers a year for the next two decades. So, the logic goes, Japanese corporations must expand abroad. But as Kirin’s latest takeover of an overseas asset attests, that’s a bum story for shareholders.

Aug 1, 2011
via Breakingviews

Sweeter PR not enough to revitalize M&A deal

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

NEW YORK — Can public relations alone rescue a crummy deal? By taking the uncommon tactic of switching flacks in the heat of battle, that’s sort of what U.S. reinsurer Validus Holdings is attempting with its hostile bid for $3.2 billion rival Transatlantic Holdings. Validus shareholders have so far scorned the idea. The trouble is, messaging doesn’t win deals, numbers do. On that score, Validus isn’t far enough ahead.

Jul 30, 2011

Markets could be making a Lehman-like mistake

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

By Rob Cox and Agnes T. Crane

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – On the Friday before Lehman Brothers went belly up in September 2008, most investors made a critical miscalculation. Based on historical precedent, namely the rescue of Bear Stearns, they assumed that Uncle Sam would ultimately come to the Wall Street firm’s rescue. Now, on the last Friday before the U.S. government faces a far larger cash crunch of its own, are global financial markets once again making a similar mistake?

    • 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