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Nov 19, 2014
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Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast

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By Robert Cyran

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

Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast. The Silicon Valley taxi app’s disregard for rules has spurred it toward a $30 billion valuation. But executives who threaten to “dig up dirt” on critics, use unsavory tactics against rivals, and post statistics on customers’ one-night stands present an existential business risk and hurt its fledgling brand. Uber needs to rein in its laddish impulses.

Nov 13, 2014
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Buffett’s $4.7 bln Duracell deal a double positive

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By Robert Cyran and Kevin Allison

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Warren Buffett’s $4.7 billion Duracell deal is more positive than negative. Berkshire Hathaway is paying for its latest acquisition by trading its stake in Procter & Gamble for the consumer stalwart’s battery unit. Swapping a reliable staple for a declining business looks odd. But the transaction is structured in a way that means both sides are getting a decent deal.

Nov 3, 2014
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LabCorp deal tests positive for value destruction

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By Robert Cyran

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

Laboratory Corp of America’s $6.1 billion deal for Covance tests positive for value destruction. The strategic logic behind adding the clinical trial outsourcer to the firm that checks patients’ blood and other fluids is hazy. Shareholders’ financial diagnosis is damning, too. They swabbed some $700 million off LabCorp as cost cuts fell far short of the 32 percent premium paid.

Oct 30, 2014
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Tim Cook’s pride may expand corporate talent pool

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

Tim Cook’s pride may expand the corporate talent pool. The Apple chief executive’s decision to speak publicly about being gay should help advance the slow march toward acceptance. As boss of the world’s biggest company by market value, Cook could inspire others, giving C-suites and boardrooms more choice. They need it.

Oct 28, 2014
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Sky-high valuations no match for earnings reality

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By Robert Cyran

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

Sky-high valuations are no match for the sober black-and-white of quarterly earnings. Investors knocked more than 10 percent, or well over $3 billion, off Twitter’s worth in early trade on Tuesday despite a third-quarter report on Monday that showed sales doubling from a year earlier. Blame the company’s overdone valuation. Twitter trades at more than 100 times its own “non-GAAP estimated earnings” measure. Other U.S. companies on high multiples have suffered a similar reality check.

Oct 24, 2014
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Amazon’s ambition outruns its cash flow

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By Robert Cyran

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

Amazon’s ambition is outrunning its cash flow. The online retailer’s 20 percent sales growth in its third quarter was slower than expected, and its $437 million loss was an ugly record. But it’s the firm’s voracious need for investment that is the bigger problem. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’ vision may be limitless, but his company’s ability to finance it is not.

Oct 22, 2014
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Amgen boss makes a prime breakup target

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By Robert Cyran

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

Amgen’s boss makes a prime breakup target for Dan Loeb. Former Morgan Stanley banker Robert Bradway has run the $109 billion biotech being eyed by the activist investor for the past two years. The idea of splitting such companies into a cash cow and a growth arm comes up often, but rarely happens. Amgen may be the exception.

Sep 30, 2014
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PayPal forced to rev after eBay’s belated U-turn

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By Rob Cyran

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

PayPal is compelled to accelerate after eBay’s belated U-turn. The $70 billion online auction company has for years resisted setting free its payments business, most recently digging in its heels against Carl Icahn’s demands to do so. Apple and Alibaba have created more urgency than investors, or Breakingviews, could. EBay squandered a big early advantage, but a spun-off PayPal may have a chance to play catch-up.

Sep 26, 2014
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Sam Waksal’s new biotech tests Wall Street amnesia

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By Robert Cyran

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

Sam Waksal’s new biotech tests Wall Street’s selective amnesia. The former ImClone boss who went to prison for an insider trading scandal that also ensnared Martha Stewart said on Wednesday that he plans to take his latest venture, Kadmon, public this year. He follows second-chancers like Donald Trump and Long-Term Capital Management founder John Meriwether. Investors can be astonishingly forgiving.

Sep 19, 2014
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Larry Ellison cedes driver seat with hand on wheel

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By Robert Cyran

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

Larry Ellison is ceding the driver’s seat at Oracle while keeping one hand on wheel. The software giant’s founder is stepping down as chief executive officer, but his 25 percent stake in the company – and dual role as chairman and chief technology officer – ensure he’s far from relinquishing control. Splitting his former job between two executives could, however, lead to a bumpy transition.

    • About Robert

      "Robert Cyran, U.S. tech columnist, joined Breakingviews in London in 2003 and moved four years later to New York, where he continues to cover global technology, pharmaceuticals and special situations. Robert began his career at Forbes magazine, where he assisted in the start-up of the international version of the magazine. Before working at Breakingviews he worked as a market researcher and reporter covering the pharmaceutical industry. Robert has a Masters degree in economics from Birmingham University and an undergraduate degree from George Washington University."
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