U.S. Editor, Commentary
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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.

Aug 4, 2011
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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
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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
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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
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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?

Jul 28, 2011
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Dunkin’ IPO extends bubble thinking beyond tech

By Rob Cox and Lisa Lee
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Silicon Valley has no monopoly on bubble thinking. The initial public offering of Dunkin’ Brands, owner of the eponymous coffee and doughnuts chain and Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops, shows that in a low-growth world, even old-school businesses are capable of exciting investors to new heights of giddiness.

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.

    • 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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