Robert's Feed
Dec 18, 2012
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Market signals turning point in U.S. gun debate

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By Robert Cyran

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

Private equity isn’t known for squeamishness – or for dumping promising investments. So it’s significant that Cerberus Capital Management is selling its stake in Freedom Group, the largest U.S. firearms maker, following the Newtown school atrocity last week. Gunmakers’ shares are plunging, too: big money is betting on tougher restrictions.

Dec 17, 2012
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Congress should push for mandatory gun insurance

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By Robert Cyran and Reynolds Holding

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

Congress should push for mandatory gun insurance. Firearm ownership is a U.S. constitutional right. But as last week’s massacre again demonstrated, it comes at a cost. Requiring liability coverage could be one way to keep the most dangerous weapons from unstable hands without infringing the law.

Dec 13, 2012
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Sprint confronts starry-eyed activists

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

Sprint is taking on some starry-eyed activists. The U.S. mobile operator being acquired by Japan’s Softbank is offering $2.1 billion for the 48 percent of Clearwire it doesn’t already own. At $2.90 a share, the 5 percent premium to the closing price on Wednesday won’t satisfy uppity investors who want Clearwire to seek other options for its storehouse of wireless spectrum. Sprint’s control limits their power, but the activists could yet elicit a sweetener.

Dec 7, 2012

Netflix row opens a Pandora’s box on disclosure

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, Dec 7 (Reuters Breakingviews) – A row with Netflix
(NFLX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) has opened a Pandora’s box on disclosure. The
Securities and Exchange Commission warned it may sue the online
video company and Chief Executive Reed Hastings over a Facebook
(FB.O: Quote, Profile, Research) post he made in July. What he wrote, however, hardly
looks material and it reached more people than if he had said it
on CNBC. It’s a bad test case on the question of investor
protection in the age of social media.

Dec 6, 2012

HP breakup is on tech world’s 2013 agenda

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

By Rob Cox and Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, Dec 6 (Reuters Breakingviews) – David Packard and
William Hewlett may be Silicon Valley’s answer to Romulus and
Remus in Rome’s founding story, but the era of their brainchild,
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N: Quote, Profile, Research), as an everything-to-everyone
conglomerate is coming to an end. Chief Executive Meg Whitman
and HP’s board, not to mention investors, won’t stick around for
an arduous and risky five-year turnaround project. Breaking the
company into good bits and selling bad ones must be on the
agenda for 2013.

Dec 5, 2012
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Pharma lands one-two punch on government finances

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By Robert Cyran and Reynolds Holding

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

Pharma has landed a double blow against the American government. The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York has ruled that a drug salesman was exercising his right to free speech by pitching a narcolepsy drug as effective against insomnia, chronic fatigue and other conditions the Food and Drug Administration had not approved. If the Supreme Court upholds this decision, companies will pay fewer multi-billion dollar fines and useless healthcare spending will increase.

Nov 30, 2012
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Groupon discounts dual-class share structures

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By Robert Cyran

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

Groupon’s melodrama is discounting dual-class share structures. Chief Executive Andrew Mason and Chairman Eric Lefkofsky appear locked in a dysfunctional battle over how to run the flailing company. The board is keeping Mason at the helm, but the fighting probably isn’t over. Super-voting shares like the ones both men own are meant to give founders flexibility. But Groupon is a reminder of just how dangerous the arrangement can be.

Nov 19, 2012
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If Apple becomes Microsoft, investors should cheer

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By Robert Cyran and Richard Beales
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

If Apple becomes Microsoft, investors should cheer. At least, that is, for their wallets. Middle age for technology stocks can hurt as shareholders looking for rapid growth lose interest and value-oriented owners await stability. But Apple has already made the transition – before its growth has slowed much. Even if its next decade echoes Microsoft’s last, the company is worth over $1 trillion.

Nov 7, 2012
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Sandy fiasco reveals investor-customer disconnect

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

Hurricane Sandy revealed a massive disconnect between the shareholders of electric utilities and their customers. The storm that caused up to $50 billion of damage across the American East Coast left 8 million people without power – and extra ornery. Politicians are hopping mad, too. Yet the market values of the region’s three listed monopolies barely took a hit. That may be rational today, but in the long term cannot last.

Oct 31, 2012
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Apple infighting may be sign of golden age waning

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

Executive infighting at Apple may be a sign of a golden age on the wane. The company’s genius has always been the smooth integration of art and engineering. Steve Jobs’ force of will kept an uneasy peace between these two camps. With mobile software chief Scott Forstall out, design guru Jony Ive will have a say over hardware and software. That is a big ask, as Apple needs mastery of both.