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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.

Sep 10, 2014
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Apple cooks up recipe to empty pockets and wallets

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By Robert Cyran

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

Apple has cooked up a recipe for emptying pockets and wallets. In addition to unveiling two new smartphones, the tech giant has combined a fingerprint sensor and an overlooked app into an iPhone payment system that looks secure and easy to use. A new watch lacks obvious appeal but has potential to replace car keys and other pocket detritus. Higher profits may be the cherry on top.

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.

    • 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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