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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.

May 11, 2011
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Microsoft and Cisco CEOs have much in common

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

John Chambers and Steve Ballmer have much in common. For more than a decade, both have run dominant, if rapidly maturing, tech juggernauts — Cisco Systems and Microsoft, respectively. And both have let down their shareholders. The difference is that one seems to have recognized the error of his ways and is repenting.

May 10, 2011
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Skype schmuck insurance pays off richly for eBay

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

By Rob Cox

Leave it to Microsoft to make eBay look like a savvy buyer. That’s sort of what the software giant’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype has done for the online auction company, which originally bought the Internet telephony group six years ago. EBay has now recouped its whole Skype investment and then some. But don’t credit eBay’s stewardship for the turnaround — consider it an advertisement for “schmuck insurance.”

May 3, 2011
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Glencore’s peak timing not only echo of Blackstone

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

Is Glencore the new Blackstone? It has become a meme from Wall Street to the City and beyond that the commodity trader’s planned $12 billion initial public offering marks the top of its industry’s cycle, just as Blackstone’s did for private equity. But investors should watch for other similarities when scrubbing Glencore’s prospectus, which is expected as soon as Wednesday.

Apr 11, 2011
via Breakingviews

IPO hopefuls want to sit around OpenTable

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

NEW YORK — The Internet industry’s newest crop of IPO hopefuls wants an OpenTable glow. They’re all conjuring comparisons to the restaurant booking website, whose shares have risen five-fold since debuting. While similarities exist, none of the comers can quite match OpenTable.

    • 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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