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Jan 9, 2013
via Breakingviews

Sprint and Softbank forced into tactical warfare

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

Sprint and Softbank are being forced into tactical warfare. U.S. satellite-TV company Dish Network, run by the enigmatic Charlie Ergen, put forward a highly conditional $2.3 billion offer for Clearwire, a spectrum owner integral to the ambitions of Sprint and its Japanese buyer. Though the bid is unlikely to go far, it could pressure Sprint to pay more – or strike a deal with Dish.

Jan 4, 2013
via Breakingviews

Google won’t evade rivals as easily as feds

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

Google evaded the feds but won’t so easily do the same with rivals. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s extensive antitrust probe into the dominant search engine ended with a whimper: the company promises to behave. The government’s case always looked shaky. If it couldn’t nail Microsoft, Google was a pipe dream. Just as well. For now, it’s still a problem for the market to sort out.

Jan 2, 2013

HP admits breakup is on the table

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, Jan 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Hewlett-Packard
(HPQ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) has finally admitted a bit of reality. The $29 billion
technology firm, beset by board and executive dysfunction
despite its place in Silicon Valley history, has been adamant
that splitting up would be a mistake. But in its new annual
report, HP says it may sell assets or dispose of them through
other means such as joint ventures. It’s a no-brainer for the
board to consider a breakup. After all, the stock is trading far
below the value of the company’s parts.

Dec 19, 2012

Mini-Berkshire shows it’s hard to beat the master

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Markel (MKL.N: Quote, Profile, Research)
models itself after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway
(BRKa.N: Quote, Profile, Research). The $4 billion insurer aims for smart underwriting,
picking stocks and adding long-term value. It has even got into
reinsurance and owning whole businesses. But performance, while
good, isn’t as impressive as it could be compared to Berkshire,
given its far smaller size.

Dec 18, 2012

Mobile advertising will boom in 2013

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters Breakingviews) – An advertising
boom could play out on every smartphone screen in 2013. Internet
firms moaned for years that users spent lots of time surfing the
Web on their desktops, but marketing dollars weren’t following
from print and TV. Time and the growth of broadband have mostly
closed the gap. The surge in smartphone and tablet use is now
providing similar fuel for mobile advertising.

Dec 18, 2012
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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
via Breakingviews

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.

    • 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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