Blog Profile / Reuters Breakingviews Blog


URL :http://blogs.reuters.com/columns
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Posts / Week:16.9
Archived Since:June 19, 2011

Blog Post Archive

TPG’s $8 bln drug sale far from generic

With the sale of Par Pharmaceutical, a maker of off-brand medicines, the buyout firm will generate an eight-fold return on its investment in three years. Though it’s a rare development, the eagerness of buyers like Endo International means more sellers are bound to benefit.

China’s lodestar is not reform but avoiding chaos

The authorities want banks to show mercy to stressed local government-linked borrowers. The plan seems to be to avoid chaotic deleveraging. Though it’s a step back from reform and market forces, until a clear line has been drawn between good and bad, it’s the right thing to do.

Review: The virtual bubble of bitcoin

The digital currency fits well in the inglorious history of finance. Nathaniel Popper tells the story in “Digital Gold”. Bitcoin’s hot idea, limited supply and uncertain value helped spawn a price explosion. After the bust, the underlying technology may still have a future.

Bond turmoil signals new era of return-free risk

Forget the risk-free rate - investment safe havens are in short supply. Cash can be costly. Gold is a dollar proxy. And recent gyrations in the largest debt markets have undermined the concept of risk-free returns. When this last compass fails, investors are really at sea.

HSBC in 2020: An imagined letter to shareholders

Moving its head office to Shanghai marks a new era for the bank, writes chairman Hank Paulson in a make-believe memo. However, despite escaping hostile regulators in the aftermath of Britain’s divorce from the European Union, HSBC faces many challenges, both familiar and new.

It’s a good time for Visa to charge up in Europe

The U.S. payments company may be in talks to buy former subsidiary Visa Europe for up to $20 bln. A deal now, though complex to arrange, would bring global dominance and valuable cost savings. An existing put option also means acting now might well avoid a higher price later.

India online retail hierarchy looks far from fixed

Investors are pouring money into the country searching for the next Alibaba or Amazon. Though India’s e-commerce opportunity is huge, low barriers to entry mean it is easy for anyone with deep pockets to spoil the party.

Danaher breakup eases sting of pricey Pall deal

The $60 bln dentures-to-lasers concern is not cutting enough costs to justify its $13.8 bln pounce for the filter maker. But boss Tom Joyce’s surprise decision to voluntarily split Danaher in two dangles the prospect of better value for shareholders. The trick is to deliver.

Pure play gets new spin in filter maker M&A

Suitors may be willing to splash out $13 bln for Pall, the largest publicly traded air and water purification company. That’s punchy and cost cuts might not cover the premium. But Pall’s scarcity value, profitability and burgeoning biotech customer base make it a tempting target.

EU growth surprises hide clear pattern

Recovering Spain was still the GDP star in the first quarter, but traditionally strong Germany did no better than perpetually stagnant Italy, while France defied gloomy predictions and the UK disappointed. Behind the mix-up, the recoveries are real, but mostly slow and unsteady.

U.S. trade setback more diplomatic than economic

Senators denied President Obama authority to negotiate a new Pacific trade pact. The squabbling contrasts with China’s success in organising its infrastructure bank. But the benefits of both projects are uncertain. The world economy can shrug off the blow to America’s leadership.

Verizon’s dumb pipes no smarter with $4.4 bln AOL

Seeking refuge from a vicious wireless war, the telecom carrier is buying the owner of the Huffington Post and old internet dial-up customers. The video ad tech business may be the prize, but it faces threats from Google and others. This is just another silly deal involving AOL.

$179 mln Picasso shows art and QE in fine fettle

A high-quality sale straddling impressionist and contemporary works paid off for Christie’s to the tune of $706 mln. That makes Sotheby’s look leaden-footed, even before the regular Christie’s sales of both genres. Meanwhile, easy money means more new price records are likely.

SoftBank’s next boss more symbol than succession

Chairman Masayoshi Son has no plans to retire but has named ex-Google executive Nikesh Arora as his likely successor. Appointing a foreigner to the role may be mainly a way for SoftBank to gild its international credentials, but the gesture is still a valuable one.

Thruppence: Can Snapchat unmask dodgy borrowers?

Alternative lender Affirm has raised $275 mln for a model that rates creditworthiness using social media data alongside other old-school indicators. Breakingviews columnists debate whether info gleaned from Facebook and its ilk could supplant traditional credit-scoring methods.

Ahold-Delhaize is a 25 bln euro deal full of hope

The shares of both Dutch-listed grocer and its potential Belgian-listed target were up strongly on reports of renewed merger negotiations. A combination of the two U.S.-centric companies makes sense. But financing could be an issue, and the American market will still be tough.

China’s new monetary tool: quantitative teasing

Cutting interest rates, as the central bank just did, can ease pressure on some borrowers, but won’t do much more. Making money more abundant, rather than just cheaper, would be a more decisive move. For now the government is wisely keeping its powder dry.

Monsanto heaps pressure on Syngenta

The U.S. seeds giant has made a $45 bln approach to the Swiss pesticide firm. The target rejected this as too cheap and too risky. Syngenta has a point: there will be major political and antitrust hurdles. But it needs to lay out just how it will create more value on its own.

Cameron has work cut out to sustain relief rally

UK stocks and bonds, and the pound, have jumped on the Conservatives’ surprise election success. That’s to be expected given fears of a messy outcome. But the result leaves open questions on EU membership and Scotland. Such uncertainties could hold back investment and growth.

Alibaba generation shift treats investors as kids

The e-commerce group is swapping its chief executive for a younger insider. The plan was drawn up before the company’s IPO. Yet Alibaba has offered no explanation. Founder Jack Ma wants to promote young leaders, but investors deserve adult answers on who makes decisions and why.

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