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Jul 14, 2011
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Hapless former WSJ owners could yet sting Murdoch

By Rob Cox and Reynolds Holding
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

LONDON/NEW YORK — Add to Rupert Murdoch’s list of potential headaches a blast from the past: the Bancroft family. The media mogul’s UK newspaper scandal has upset some members of the family who haplessly gave in to News Corp’s $5 billion offer to buy Dow Jones in 2007. It’s hard to feel much sympathy. But the pact they forged to ensure the Wall Street Journal’s integrity gave a special committee powers that could embarrass Murdoch further.

Jul 12, 2011
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Murdoch Schadenfreude has worrying downside, too

By Rob Cox and Richard Beales
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Britain’s press and public are having a field day over the travails of News Corp. With good reason: the News of the World’s phone hacking was reprehensible. And, given Rupert Murdoch’s political king-making history in the UK through the pages of News Corp’s newspapers, some backlash is overdue. But there’s a potential dark side to Murdoch Schadenfreude, too.

Jul 5, 2011
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The seven habits of highly effective watchdogs

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

By Rob Cox

The 2008 financial crisis revealed many of the world’s banking regulators to be woefully ineffective. Sheila Bair’s five-year spell at the helm of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, which ends on Friday, may offer a potential exception. A potted banking regulator’s version of the 1989 self-help tome, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” sums up Bair’s tenure.

Jun 23, 2011
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How to make Greece more like GM than Lehman

By Rob Cox and Richard Beales
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Investors fixated on the possibility that a Greek default would deliver a shock akin to the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008 may want to consider another analogy. A restructuring of Greece’s obligations could more closely resemble the orderly wind-down of General Motors. The U.S. carmaker’s bankruptcy filing didn’t spark the market or economic Armageddon that followed Lehman’s demise.

Jun 15, 2011
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Japan shouldn’t dismiss hedge fund TCI out of hand

By Rob Cox and Wayne Arnold
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

NEW YORK/HONG KONG — The Children’s Investment Fund was humiliated when it brandished the sword of shareholder activism at Japan’s corporate shogunates in 2008. Now the London hedge fund is back with what appears an even more foolhardy campaign — to prod the Japanese finance minister to shake up Japan Tobacco. But this time around the embattled government may have enough to gain to push for corporate reform.

Jun 2, 2011
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Japanese M&A adventurism poorly directed abroad

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

TOKYO — Japan Inc’s latest mantra is that, with the domestic market shrinking, companies must hurry to make acquisitions abroad. But they should resist the temptation of international M&A adventurism. Creating more competitive enterprises through domestic consolidation would be better for the country in the long run — not to mention for shareholders, too often an afterthought in Japan.

May 27, 2011
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Who would save Japan in a sovereign debt crisis?

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

TOKYO — Who would save Japan in a sovereign debt crisis? Hopefully, it won’t have one. But given the country’s terrifying challenges, some senior Japanese financial executives and government bureaucrats are quietly considering how to deal with a doomsday scenario. A theoretical Japanese credit collapse could even see China coming to the rescue.

May 18, 2011
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Howard Marks faces delicate balancing act with IPO

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

NEW YORK — Oaktree Capital’s plans to pursue a fully public stock listing will put one of its outspoken founder’s key philosophies to the test. Howard Marks, whose investment missives are widely followed on Wall Street, has often lamented the tradeoff fund managers make between gathering assets and maintaining performance. Balancing Marks’ preference for returns with the demands for growth among public shareholders won’t be easy.

May 15, 2011
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Questions for Strauss-Kahn raise more for world

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

By Rob Cox

The New York Police Department’s questions for Dominique Strauss-Kahn pose potentially much bigger political and financial ones for the world. Law enforcement officials removed the IMF chief from a flight to Paris on Saturday and took him into custody in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid. The sordid affair could derail Strauss-Kahn’s possible bid to lead France and alter the course of the IMF at a critical juncture in the global sovereign debt crisis.

May 12, 2011
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Hedge fund metric could answer Volcker Rule riddle

By Rob Cox and Antony Currie
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The central aim of the U.S. financial reforms put forward by former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker was quite simple: Stop banks from behaving like hedge funds. But turning a key piece of this noble goal — ending proprietary trading — into a workable framework is proving devilish. Yet there may be a partial solution. Regulators should treat Wall Street trading desks as if they were hedge funds.

    • 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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