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Aug 29, 2014
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Square swipes a hollow-looking $6 bln valuation

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By Robert Cyran

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

Square is starting to look oddly hollow. The payments company set up and run by Jack Dorsey is set to raise $200 million in new funding, according to Bloomberg. That would value the company at $6 billion. While big, it’s a deflated figure, considering Square’s former hype, the small amount raised, and tech rivals’ ease securing higher valuations.

Square’s credit card readers for smartphones and tablets are easily spotted in the wilds of flea markets and coffee shops. They are easy to use, and the 2.75 percent they charge per swipe is relatively appealing for small transactions. Last year the company racked up more than $500 million in revenue.

Aug 27, 2014
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Snapchat’s valuation soars on tech-land pixie dust

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By Robert Cyran

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

Snapchat’s valuation is soaring on tech-land pixie dust. The disappearing-photo business has turned 100 million users, strong demand for chat services and the $20 million sale of a tiny equity stake into a $10 billion price tag. Trouble is, the company lacks revenue – and none is in sight. It’s a reminder that Silicon Valley dreams often trump real economics.

Aug 26, 2014
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Buffett and tax outrage both diversions in BK deal

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By Robert Cyran

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

Warren Buffett’s name is giving Burger King’s deal to buy Tim Hortons, now worth some $11 billion, a public relations boost. But some commentators on Twitter are calling the Berkshire Hathaway boss a hypocrite and branding him unpatriotic for supporting a company moving from the United States tax jurisdiction to Canada. Both sentiments are diversions.

Aug 25, 2014
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Roche’s $8 bln bet outsmarts ice-bucket challenge

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By Robert Cyran

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

Roche’s latest $8 billion bet may outsmart the ice-bucket challenge. Dumping cold water on heads, the social-media phenomenon now boosting research on Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a great way to raise charitable cash. But the drug made by Roche’s target, InterMune, treats an obscure yet equally fatal disease with more sufferers.

Aug 14, 2014
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IPO exuberance ensnares Deutsche, Wells Fargo

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By Robert Cyran

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

IPO exuberance has ensnared Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo. The two banks nixed a biotech deal last week – six days after it started trading. Their reasoning looks defensible, but their due diligence beforehand less so.

Aug 1, 2014
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Flaky Iliad bid muddies T-Mobile US sale odyssey

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By Robert Cyran

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

Iliad has delivered what could be a Trojan horse for Sprint’s plans to buy T-Mobile US. In a rival approach, the $16 billion French telcom has offered $33 a share, or $15 billion, for 57 percent of the No. 4 U.S. mobile operator. It’s a flaky offer on several levels. But the intervention may intensify antitrust objections to Sprint’s wish to merge.

Jul 30, 2014
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Inversions start to spin out of control

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By Robert Cyran

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

Inversions are starting to spin out of control. A quest for tax savings has made digestible overseas targets attractive to U.S. buyers. Hospira’s potential $5 bln deal for a Danone unit highlights a fresh supply, for so-called “spinversions.” The odd combination also reflects the perverse incentives distorting corporate decisions.

Jul 24, 2014
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Allergan bosses put money where their mouths are

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By Robert Cyran

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

Allergan bosses have put money where their mouths are. The drugmaker says it is worth more on its own than the $52 billion hostile suitor Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is offering. That’s straight from the empty-promise, takeover-defense playbook. Allergan, however, is linking stock and option grants to lofty profit goals. It’s a bolder gambit that should become an M&A norm.

Jul 23, 2014
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Apple winds up earnings hope for new gadgets

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By Rob Cyran

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

Apple is winding up investors’ earnings hopes for new gadgets. The $570 billion iPhone maker racked up another period of so-so growth in the quarter to June 28, but still with astonishing cash flow. The lower share count may fuel a stock run-up if Apple soon unveils another must-have device.

Jul 17, 2014
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Murdoch may be heading for Pyrrhic Time Warner win

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By Robert Cyran

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

Rupert Murdoch may yet buy Time Warner, but it may be a Pyrrhic victory. The owner of HBO quickly shut off Twenty-First Century Fox’s $80 billion or so offer. Yet Murdoch appears determined to buy his media rival. Problem is, he’d need more than twice the synergies Fox has already identified to make the deal work – and a ton of debt. History suggests the octogenarian won’t give up – and may destroy value by offering more.

    • 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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