Blog Profile / Reuters Breakingviews Blog

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Archived Since:June 19, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Giving watchdog algorithm keys is slippery slope

The CFTC wants to inspect source codes of trading firms without a subpoena. The U.S. agency says it’s needed for records retention. Unclear is whether the regulator can safeguard such intellectual property, and it opens the door for other officials to request similar access.

Brexit is reopening euro zone sovereign wounds

France’s bond yields are rising while Germany’s are falling. It’s a warning markets may doubt the integrity of the euro zone if a UK exit triggers copycat referendums. The ECB has neither the power nor the mandate to fight the kind of extreme outcomes that could ensue.

Hong Kong could be a black belt in green bonds

China is pushing environmental finance, but rules and definitions are fuzzy. Hong Kong’s large pool of capital and transparent regulation give it the credentials to whip this immature market into shape. With just one green bond under its belt, however, the city has work to do.

Latest morbid gun-stocks rally may be irrational

Following the Orlando massacre, Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger shares jumped on the notion that Americans will rush to stockpile weapons before legislators crack down. The link between national security and lax firearms laws this time around makes the investment thesis riskier.

Microsoft’s CEO abandons prudence with LinkedIn

Satya Nadella’s $26 bln deal could reinvigorate the software giant’s slipping grip on corporate computer systems and employee interactions. Paying a 50 pct premium for a flawed business raises several red flags, however. Microsoft’s M&A record doesn’t inspire confidence, either.

Mass shootings erode U.S. soft power

People the world over sympathize with the dozens killed in an Orlando nightclub. Whatever the attacker’s motives, though, Washington’s allies can’t fathom the richest nation’s continuing failure to control access to lethal weapons. It’s a blind spot that saps America’s influence.

How Cameron could still pull plug on Brexit vote

Picture the scene: the UK’s referendum on EU membership looms, and polls have swung heavily in favour of leaving. Panic grips 10 Downing Street. Yet there may be another way. Breakingviews imagines how a senior advisor to the prime minister might suggest the unthinkable.

Sickly Lotte IPO reflects two faces of South Korea

Seoul may be Asia’s coolest destination right now, and Lotte Group’s flagship duty-free arm ought to profit handsomely. But raids have derailed the unit’s $4.5 bln listing and drawn attention to Korea’s uglier side: its powerful, opaque and poorly governed conglomerates.

Review: Blockchain hopes go well beyond finance

The distributed-ledger concept is linked to the bitcoin cryptocurrency, and more recently potential financial uses have taken wing. A new book, “Blockchain Revolution,” explores democratic and humanitarian applications. It’s both eye-opening and, at times, a bit wide-eyed.

Viacom CEO’s defiance is a red flag for buyers

Philippe Dauman told investors a minority sale of Paramount is still on. Owner Sumner Redstone is objecting. Abrupt changes to the media firm’s corporate bylaws underscore acrimony and suspicion at the board level. Potential partners for Paramount have been forewarned.

Viewsroom: Breakingviews on Brexit

Imagine Britain votes on June 23 to leave the European Union. What happens next? Breakingviews writers George Hay, John Foley, Neil Unmack, Swaha Pattanaik and Olaf Storbeck discuss the possible consequences for markets, trade, growth and the future of the EU.

Tom Perkins sails away from changed Silicon Valley

The swashbuckling investor, who has died at 84, pioneered the venture-capital model that gave rise to the likes of Google and Amazon. Famous for his antics outside the boardroom, Perkins ended up an outsider in the more buttoned-down corporate culture his money helped create.

Time Out IPO more fringe than West End

The loss-making events magazine is raising 90 mln pounds on London’s junior market. Its revamp depends on convincing visitors to book tickets on its site, though its track record hasn’t been great so far. Online booking is a crowded field and the price it is asking looks high.

Tencent can win with a $9 bln bet on Supercell

The Chinese web giant is reportedly talking about buying the maker of Clash of Clans at an unexpectedly high $9 bln valuation. Such a big deal would be a first for Tencent. But buying the games-maker from Japan’s SoftBank could pay off - if Supercell can keep churning out gems.

Cox: Slicing global trade with a GE carving knife

Much of the discourse surrounding the U.S. election and Brexit makes free trade and labor mobility sound like terrible things. Individual tales of dislocation are manifold and moving. The shared benefits of globalization are huge, though – as one humble appliance illustrates.

Williams admits stress fracture in $22 bln deal

The U.S. pipeline owner said it may slash its dividend if the sale to Energy Transfer falls through. Despite the buyer’s efforts to renegotiate or wriggle out of the merger, Williams has held firm. The payout warning may be a tactic, but failure until now hasn’t been an option.

Singapore, Saudi put corporate do-gooders on spot

Banks covet business in Saudi Arabia despite its poor human rights. They can say it’s the direction of travel that counts. Singapore, which just told groups like Goldman Sachs to stop backing a gay and lesbian event, is going backwards. It puts corporate sincerity to the test.

Jack Ma’s healthcare buyout is hard to stomach

The Alibaba boss’s buyout firm is bidding $1.4 bln-plus for U.S.-listed iKang. His minimum bid is 20 pct cheaper than an unfriendly approach from a rival, now dropped, which iKang’s CEO countered with a poison pill. Unless Ma pays more, outside investors will feel pretty icky.

Merger “synergies” can’t just be code for job cuts

Most mega-deals leave companies with fewer staff, and higher sales and profit per head, a Breakingviews analysis shows. That’s capitalism. But the mood is changing, at least in pro-market Britain. Synergies do exist, but those reliant on cutting jobs may get harder to realise.

Disney and Wanda can both ride China’s park boom

Mickey Mouse’s owner is opening a $5.5 bln Shanghai theme park. Meanwhile local rival Wanda, run by China’s richest man, plans a string of cheaper attractions in smaller cities. Despite Wanda’s fighting talk, the two serve different markets, and can thrive simultaneously.

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