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Feb 13, 2014
via Breakingviews

Comcast deal machine spits out a value destroyer

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

 

Comcast’s deal machine has spit out a value destroyer. Digesting Time Warner Cable is ambitious even for a serial acquirer like Chief Executive Brian Roberts. As with some of his many previous purchases, it looks set to generate a return on investment below Comcast’s cost of capital. That’s crummy but not criminal. It’s also not surprising given the medieval governance the Roberts family uses to oversee its fiefdom.

Feb 5, 2014
via Breakingviews

Quitting tobacco, CVS has a Don Draper moment

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

 

CVS Caremark just had a Don Draper moment. Like the television protagonist from “Mad Men,” the second-largest U.S. drugstore chain has orchestrated a public relations splash by pulling tobacco products from the shelves at its 7,600 stores. The move will cost shareholders 17 cents a share, but the healthcare bona fides it can gain with customers against rivals like Walgreen may offset the hit.

Jan 13, 2014
via Breakingviews

Suntory lives up to motto with $16 bln Beam bid

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By Rob Cox

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

For a Japanese corporation, Suntory Holdings has an especially aggressive corporate slogan: “Yatte Minahare,” which roughly translates as “Go For It.” That sums up Suntory’s willingness to pay $16 billion, or a hefty 20 times EBITDA, for the U.S. distiller of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and other tipples. That number won’t be lost in translation for Diageo, Pernod Ricard or others who might also covet Beam.

Dec 30, 2013
via Breakingviews

Time for Larry and Sergey to invest in journalism?

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

Is it time for Google billionaires Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt to invest in journalism? In 2013, Amazon architect Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar announced a new investigative reporting venture. Yet strictly by the numbers, few have made their money at the expense of the old-school pillars of the fourth estate quite as obviously as the Google guys.

Dec 18, 2013
via Breakingviews

Can General Electric keep the activists at bay?

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By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opini0ns expressed are his own.

Can General Electric keep activist investors at bay? If the gates at Apple, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble can be rattled, complacency just isn’t an option for any company, even and maybe especially a $270 billion conglomerate. While GE’s broad strategy looks more coherent than ever, the Connecticut giant still has two potential vulnerabilities: its finance arm and its longtime leader Jeffrey Immelt.

Dec 10, 2013
via The Great Debate

Let free markets and technology reduce gun violence

Ron Conway, an angel investor in some of the most successful startups of the past decade, from Google to Twitter, was holding a Christmas party in his San Francisco apartment overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge on Dec. 14. One of his guests that evening was former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

What was supposed to be a festive occasion turned solemn as Conway convened a prayer for the families of Newtown, CT and exhorted the leading lights of technology and venture capital gathered in his home to ingeniously help tackle the problem of gun violence.

Nov 7, 2013
via Breakingviews

Lael Brainard isn’t the only Fed no-brainer

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

Lael Brainard isn’t the only Federal Reserve no-brainer. As Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, she has acquitted herself nobly helping the world understand Washington’s profligate and quixotic ways. The Senate would be as daft to block her potential nomination to the Fed board of governors as it would Janet Yellen’s to the chairmanship. Filling other central banking vacancies quickly is the president’s other obvious task.

Oct 17, 2013
via Breakingviews

When will US stop acting like a fat spoiled brat?

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By Rob Cox

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

Imagine future historians looking back at the 113th Congress of the United States. They will not judge it kindly. One day when the dollar is no longer the currency of choice for financial transactions around the world, the fictional chroniclers will ask, perhaps as Romans did in the fifth century: how did a nation that had so much going for it manage to squander everything?

Oct 11, 2013
via Breakingviews

Pandit gone but not forgotten at Citigroup

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

Mike Corbat is approaching his first anniversary as chief executive of Citigroup. Chairman Mike O’Neill installed him after organizing a putsch to oust then-CEO Vikram Pandit. The new boss has accelerated some cost cuts and clarified strategy around the edges, but the broad direction is still Pandit’s. Either way, it is serving shareholders well.

Oct 9, 2013
via Breakingviews

Wall Street lets itself go for dance rave IPO

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

Investors shelled out $260 million to get past the velvet ropes and into the debut of SFX Entertainment, Robert Sillerman’s electronic dance music promotion roll-up that priced at $13 a share on Tuesday only to trade down sharply the next morning. The best explanation for Wall Street’s over-enthusiasm may be the “my grandson likes that Skrillex guy” school of stock investing.

    • 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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