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Sep 23, 2011
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Meg Whitman is unjustifiable choice for HP

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

Hewlett-Packard’s board just can’t get out of its own way. Appointing Meg Whitman to run the company is the latest example why. The former eBay boss only became a director earlier this year. The feckless body has already ousted three previous outsiders, including most recently Leo Apotheker, damaging HP each time along the way. But that’s not the only reason choosing Whitman as CEO is almost completely unjustifiable.

Sep 14, 2011
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When Frank Quattrone comes calling, buyer beware

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

When Frank Quattrone comes calling, buyers should beware. The latest coup for the former CSFB ace is persuading Google to bid against itself for Motorola Mobility. Since launching Qatalyst Partners, his boutique investment bank, Quattrone has extracted a much higher premium for clients than rival tech bankers. Silicon Valley has now been given fair warning.

Sep 8, 2011

Facebook puts Web 2.0 rivals in appropriate light

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – The latest numbers on Facebook puts the social network’s Web 2.0 rivals in the appropriate light. Initial public offerings this year for tech companies like content factory Demand Media and Internet radio service Pandora Media have shown how profitless growth can gain favor. But Facebook’s fast-growing profit is a stark reminder of exactly what’s missing from Silicon Valley.

Sep 7, 2011

New Yahoo CEO challenge: to dismantle the beast

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Cleaning up Yahoo’s business is proving a Sisyphean task — and the U.S. Internet hodgepodge’s corporate dysfunction makes it doubly so. Firing chief executive Carol Bartz could be a step forward — at the very least it may remove some saucy language from the company’s board minutes. But Yahoo’s directors have done so in characteristically shambolic fashion, and created even more impediments to progress. Yahoo needs a simpler solution — a breakup.

Sep 1, 2011
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Big pharmacy deal confronts past and now present

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

Investors are betting there’s almost no chance trustbusters will approve the $29 billion acquisition of pharmacy benefits manager Medco by rival Express Scripts. Medco shares are trading more than 20 percent below the offer price. That may be overly pessimistic. But two nixed mergers 14 years ago and the U.S. Justice Department’s attempt to stop AT&T’s $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA provide good reason for skepticism.

Aug 31, 2011
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Obama’s watchdogs call AT&T’s $39 bln wager

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

The Obama administration has called AT&T’s $39 billion wager on T-Mobile USA. The No. 2 U.S. mobile company bet it could persuade regulators that buying No. 4 T-Mobile would benefit consumers. The U.S. Department of Justice senses a weak hand and has sued to block the deal. With the industry a near duopoly, the government’s read looks right. AT&T isn’t folding but looks on the verge of a bad beat.

Aug 29, 2011
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Groupon’s gaffes give fair warning to investors

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

NEW YORK — Groupon’s gaffes have given fair warning to investors. The run-up to the Internet coupon company’s initial public offering has been characterized by a series of rosy promises from executives that went unfulfilled. This bodes poorly for the company’s governance, and perhaps its financial prospects, as a full-fledged public company.

Aug 26, 2011
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Demand Media takes cake with galling stock buyback

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

NEW YORK — Investors who think stock buybacks are bad have a new benchmark against which to channel their dislike. Demand Media, a content farm whose public offering in January briefly heralded a new boom in Internet stocks, has seen its shares plunge by half as its business model has been challenged by Google. But rather than dedicate the proceeds of the IPO to fixing the company, its board has decided to use a third of it to repurchase stock.

Aug 25, 2011
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Now investors can focus on just how good Apple is

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

Few companies are as indelibly linked to an individual as Apple is to Steve Jobs. Not only one of the founders, he led the company from near bankruptcy to become one of the most valuable companies in the world. News on Wednesday of his retirement from running day-to-day operations is a blow — even if it was both inevitable and expected. But investors haven’t yet wrapped their minds around the powerhouse Jobs built.

Aug 19, 2011
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HP stock sell-off looks like overkill

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

The selloff in Hewlett-Packard shares looks like overkill. The tech giant has seen about a quarter of its market value — or almost $16 billion — vaporized in two days. Shareholders have fled following another profit warning, a pricey deal to buy data search group Autonomy for around $10 billion, and a strategic U-turn. That makes for plenty of warts — but HP now looks too cheap.

    • 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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