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Archived Since:June 19, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Samsung charges up electric car dream with BYD

The smartphone-to-chips giant will buy a stake in Tesla's Chinese rival. Having a local ally may smooth ties with Beijing after regulatory setbacks in the People's Republic – and ensure the cash-rich South Korean group gets a slice of China's turbo-charged electric car market.

Review: Rules for reading fickle economic fortunes

Ruchir Sharma's new book offers investors ten clear ways to anticipate whether a country will rise or fall. A mix of humble pragmatism and daring decisiveness make his tips compelling reading. But limiting his outlook to five years will frustrate readers eager for longer views.

Assembling economic dream team is more than a game

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump soon will unveil detailed economic plans as party officials gather at upcoming conventions. To help them draft a team of advisers, Breakingviews blends the fun of fantasy sports with the real consequences of policy in a new interactive graphic.

EU’s Google antitrust push slower, more scattered

The European Commission has hit the tech giant with a third charge, saying it abused search dominance on third-party websites. It also reinforced a claim, first made in 2010, that Google favored its own shopping service. A speedier, focused campaign would better serve justice.

Assault on UK privilege has many possible targets

Theresa May wants to focus on more than the "privileged few". If Britain's new prime minister is serious, the most glaring disparities are in pensions, savings, housing and infrastructure. Action in these areas would go some way to healing north/south and young/old rifts.

Nintendo’s augmented shares reflect new reality

The runaway success of the Japanese group's Pokemon app has sent its shares up more than 50 pct. That's a big vote of confidence in Nintendo's future mobile games, too. To justify the move, EBITDA will need to top 250 bln yen by 2018-2019 - more than double previous forecasts.

Boosting bank earnings requires more creativity

Trading, stock deals and mortgage refinancing picked up in the second quarter. That's a relief after a poor start to the year. But bank returns mostly remain too low and new business too scarce. It puts the emphasis on finding new ways to cut costs and harness technology.

Fintech: bigger and dicier for insurers than banks

Financial technology is highly likely to disrupt the insurance industry, executives told PwC. Preventive cover that use sensors to anticipate damage could benefit society. But many shifts may require intrusive Big Brother-like methods - or questionable changes to risk management.

Cox: Dismantling Dodd-Frank is a Trump distraction

Republicans and their presumptive leader want to overhaul the financial-reform law. Recent stress tests and narrowing funding costs between big and small banks suggest that swapping reliance on regulators for bankruptcy courts is a bad idea, even if Trump knows the latter well.

AMC-Odeon deal is both trailer and closing credits

The U.S. cinema chain is buying its European peer for $1.2 bln. The deal ends Odeon's epic stint in private equity hands. It's a further sign of the global ambitions of Wanda, AMC's Chinese backer. And it could be the first of many post-Brexit deals by dollar-based buyers.

Alibaba highlights hurdles in Russia’s pivot east

Moscow wants closer economic ties with China, rather than dealing with an unfriendly West. But Russia's poor business climate makes life hard for Chinese companies, although they are used to draconian rules at home. Even e-commerce giant Alibaba has only made modest inroads.

Pokemon GO hints mixed reality beats virtual kind

The mobile game where users capture imaginary creatures in the real world is a smash. Within a week of launch GO may have more users than Twitter. Entirely computer-simulated worlds get the attention, but overlaying the digital on the physical may be the disruptive killer app.

Tech deal reboot exemplifies valuation disconnect

Videoconference gear maker Polycom scrapped a plan to be bought by Mitel and opted for a $2 bln LBO instead. Hefty synergies in the original merger orchestrated by Elliott oddly failed to impress investors. It's not just the newest technology where valuation thinking is screwy.

Workers on boards only small step in UK governance

Theresa May, perhaps Britain's next prime minister, wants employees among company directors. Germany's 40-year-old union-heavy "Mitbestimmung" model - which goes further than the UK would - hasn't been the disaster predicted by industry, but it also has its downsides.

Viewsroom: The Kit Kat defense; Brexit fallout

The humble four-fingered chocolate bar could play a key role in fending off bidders for Hershey. Meanwhile, the EU-shunning UK battles political instability, a tanking currency and a run on commercial property funds, while the economic pain of allowing in far fewer migrants looms.

British retail sleepwalks into Amazon-ageddon

Real-world stores are burdened with poor demand, too much property and thinning profit. The U.S. tech giant, meanwhile, is hiring 1,000 UK staff and pushing into fashion and groceries. The UK's economic problems could be a decisive moment in the online land grab.

Temasek’s goals are bold for a low-yield world

The $180 bln Singaporean investor just suffered its first down year since the financial crisis. Still, it beat benchmarks, and some key holdings have since rebounded. However, Temasek is still targeting a feisty 8 pct annual return. That could skew future investment decisions.

U.S. anti-inversion push has a harmful flipside

Treasury's plan to rein in tax-motivated overseas M&A takes aim at intercompany loans. It's a good idea to curb so-called earnings stripping where deductible interest is sent to an overseas parent. The proposed rule is broad, however, and could hurt normal funding practices.

Danone investors get creamed by WhiteWave deal

The French group is paying a too-full $12.5 bln for U.S. dairy group WhiteWave. Danone can get away with this because expanding away from Europe looks attractive, and debt comes cheap. Skim off the froth, and it’s an expensive way of buying growth.

Vanke battle is test of China’s shareholder rules

The country's top property developer is fighting with major holder Baoneng. The spat has produced a $7 bln deal, a motion to dismiss the board, and suggestions big stakeholders are colluding. The outcome will show whether China's public markets are up to protecting investors.

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