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Jan 23, 2015
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Italy gets its mojo back – at least in Davos

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By Rob Cox

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

For the first time in recent memory, the World Economic Forum has a distinctly Italian accent. After keeping a lower profile of late as its economy – once larger than Britain’s – contracted, the actual sick man of Europe struck “la bella figura” at the annual gathering of plutocrats in Davos, Switzerland. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s disruptive style has put a spring in the step of Italy’s business leaders. Real reform, however, is only just beginning.

Jan 21, 2015
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Rob Cox: Davos badly needs a Henry Ford moment

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By Rob Cox

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

It’s hard to know what Henry Ford would make of the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of the Capital Class in Davos, Switzerland. He’d certainly not like the preponderance of Audis on the icy roads. But the Ford Motor Co founder would probably approve of two talking points that will course through conversations among this year’s assembly of plutocrats: paying employees more and taxing them less.

Jan 14, 2015
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Rob Cox: It took the Grim Reaper to restructure GM

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By Rob Cox

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

As General Motors was emerging from bankruptcy a few years ago, then-Chief Executive Dan Akerson, a veteran of the private equity industry, vowed cultural change was working. “There’s accountability in this organization now,” the former Navy man confidently told the Detroit Free Press. He was a few years premature in his diagnosis.

Jan 13, 2015
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MetLife’s Snoopy takes on the regulatory Red Baron

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By Rob Cox

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

Challenging regulators can often come back to bite you in the rear. JPMorgan proved this by publicly questioning the reforms of the Dodd-Frank Act and then privately failing to rein in some particularly naughty behavior by some of its traders. That’s what makes MetLife’s decision to take its watchdogs to court so surprising.

Dec 23, 2014

Breakingviews: Acquirers can expect more M&A investor skeptics

By Rob Cox

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Success begets imitation,
especially in Wall Street’s M&A factories. More than $3.2
trillion of deals were proposed around the world in 2014. More
will be encouraged by the uproarious response given by investors
to shares of acquiring companies. As the easy pickings
evaporate, though, the laws of corporate finance will prevail.
Buyers can expect greater skepticism.

There’s no obvious reason for the pace of mergers to slow.
Companies are flush with cash and stock prices are robust. The
total value of deals still lags its historical correlation to
global market value.

Dec 22, 2014
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Acquirers can expect more M&A investor skeptics

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By Rob Cox

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

Success begets imitation, especially in Wall Street’s M&A factories. More than $3.2 trillion of deals were proposed around the world in 2014. More will be encouraged by the uproarious response given by investors to shares of acquiring companies. As the easy pickings evaporate, though, the laws of corporate finance will prevail. Buyers can expect greater skepticism.

Dec 17, 2014
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Sony email shareholders would like to see

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By Rob Cox

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

The hacking scandal at Sony’s Hollywood studio isn’t just embarrassing. It’s a business problem for the $23 billion Japanese conglomerate already struggling to turn itself around. Herewith, a selection of internal messages Sony’s board and executives ought to be fielding this week.

Dec 9, 2014
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Yellen should gird for activist investors

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By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. 

Janet Yellen faces a long list of challenges for 2015. The Federal Reserve chair must keep her fellow governors aligned on the timing of interest rate increases while battling a Congress hell-bent on circumscribing the U.S. central bank’s powers. A less obvious trouble spot for Yellen’s year two in the job may be restive shareholders of systemically important financial institutions.

Regulatory pressure, middling performance and a dearth of large-cap alternatives are making mega-banks like Citigroup and JPMorgan increasingly attractive for shakeup artists, which would add to the Fed’s workload. Sweeping reforms after the 2008 crisis handed the central bank greater authority over the nation’s biggest lenders. That means any moves they make, voluntary or otherwise, to break up or, heaven forbid, acquire rivals will require a green light from Yellen and her lieutenants.

Dec 9, 2014

Breakingviews: Abercrombie CEO joins Society of Ignoble Chairmen

By Rob Cox

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Memo from the Desk of the
Chairmen of the Society of Ignoble Chairmen

Re: Our Latest Member

It is with great pride that we welcome the newest, and
almost certainly the best-dressed, member of our society,
Michael Jeffries. As the minutes of our monthly
cigars-and-bourbon all-chair board meeting of late last January
will serve to remind, Michael served as chairman of the fashion
retailer Abercrombie & Fitch for 18 years until his
board unfairly and unceremoniously stripped him of the title,
relegating him to the singular task of chief executive. As
expected, Michael announced today his intention to leave the
company with immediate effect.

Dec 2, 2014
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Wall Street in grip of Geithner nostalgia

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By Rob Cox

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

A week before Thanksgiving, Wall Street’s top brass were forced to reckon with an entirely new sensation: nostalgia for their former overlord, Tim Geithner.

    • 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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