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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.

Aug 19, 2011

HP says goodbye Compaq, hello IBM

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Hewlett-Packard is saying goodbye Compaq, and hello IBM. The U.S. tech giant may spin off its PC unit and stop making mobile devices running its own operating system. It has also made a surprise offer to buy UK software group Autonomy for a hefty $10 billion. Leaving the cutthroat hardware market for higher margin software can work, as IBM’s success shows. But it won’t be quick or easy.

Aug 16, 2011

HP purchase of patent-rich Palm now looks smarter

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

By Robert Cyran

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Hewlett-Packard’s(HPQ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) purchase of Palm last year is suddenly looking smarter. Google’s(GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) $12.5 billion deal to buy Motorola Mobility(MMI.N: Quote, Profile, Research) this week, and the frenzied bidding earlier in the year for Nortel’s patents, have revealed the riches in the intellectual property of mobile computing. And HP snatched up one of the most important troves for a price that now looks cheap. Yet cashing in, should HP want to do so, is a challenge.

Aug 15, 2011
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Google’s $12.5 billion insurance buy may worry partners

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

Google¬†is spending $12.5 billion on insurance for itself — but its partners may not feel at ease. The search giant’s deal to buy smartphone maker Motorola Mobility¬†locks in patents to help protect its rapidly growing Android mobile operating system. But Google’s plans for the hardware business that comes along with the patents will be the key concern for regulators and other current Android handset makers alike.

Aug 12, 2011
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HTML5 buzz weakens the power of mobile apps

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

Smartphones powered by Apple and Google operate using hundreds of thousands of highly specialized Web programs. That’s what has allowed the two firms to lock up most of the premium cellphone market. Yet a new Web standard, called HTML5, is gaining traction and buzz, not least because its biggest supporters say it will allow a bit of an end-run around these walled gardens.

    • 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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