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Friday, 06 May 2016

BREAKINGVIEWS

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S., May 1, 2016.

Trump's Fed position befits a banana republic

06 May 2016

The reality-TV veteran turned White House contender says Janet Yellen is following the right monetary policy, but he’d replace her because she’s not a Republican. That’s not only a break with decorum. It’s a red flag that a President Trump would meddle in central-banking affairs.

The Volkswagen logo is seen on a Kombi minibus during a Kombi fan club meeting in Sao Bernardo do Campo December 8, 2013.

Shaming VW could be pushy TCI's best tactic

06 May 2016

Chris Hohn’s hedge fund has tackled the likes of Japan Tobacco and Coal India. That puts the 61 bln euro German carmaker in some bad company. Yet complaints of excessive pay, weak governance and inefficient operations are not new. Only VW’s controlling owners can force change.

Mongolian mine workers

Rio Tinto goes Genghis on the copper market

06 May 2016

By expanding its $5.3 bln Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, the miner hopes to ride an upswing in demand. Under-investment in new mines and declining quality could see the market in deficit by 2020. But there’s a risk that copper goes the way of iron ore, into a damaging supply war.

A Southwest Airlines logo on plane

Brexit advocates: heed the tale of Herb Kelleher

06 May 2016

The co-founder of U.S. budget airline Southwest took the glamour out of air travel. But the increased connectivity has had unexpected benefits - like more scientific breakthroughs, a new study shows. Those who seek a British exit from the EU may be giving up more than they know.

Engineers oversee the gas distribution system in Kiskundorozsma, Hungary on January15, 2015.

Farcical oil deal prompts George Costanza defense

05 May 2016

Like the character in sitcom “Seinfeld,” Energy Transfer hopes to shake up a sour relationship: the $21 bln takeover of pipeline rival Williams. ETE aims to pay less cash, seeming to force the issue by making itself as unattractive as possible. The stakes are no laughing matter.

Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma speaks in front of a screen showing real-time data of transactions at Alibaba Group's 11.11 Global shopping festival in Beijing, China.

Alibaba's strong core comes with shaky periphery

05 May 2016

The Chinese e-commerce group’s revenue soared 39 pct year on year, faster than volumes of stuff sold on its sites. Alibaba also disclosed losses on its fintech, services and logistics affiliates. Those trends can co-exist, so long as online shopping growth stays sturdy. 

Japan's Economics Minister Akira Amari in Tokyo, Japan, January 28, 2016.

Sard Verbinnen sale burnishes its deal credentials

05 May 2016

The crisis and merger PR firm is unloading 40 pct of itself to a buyout shop. Word leaking out with ugly details about unhappy partners hardly showcases its spin services. A valuation of nearly eight times what the founders paid a decade ago, however, suggests a certain M&A nous.

The Evonik Industries logo is pictured at its plant in Bitterfeld, Germany, February 29, 2016.

Air Products and Evonik neutralize deal imbalance

06 May 2016

The U.S. industrial-gas producer is selling specialty chemicals to its German peer for $3.8 bln. A lofty valuation of 16 times last year’s EBITDA helps Air Products cover a tax hit triggered by the sale. To justify the price, Evonik is rustling up meaningful savings of its own.

The Italian flag waves in front of The "Altare della Patria" also known as "Vittoriano" downtown Rome, Italy, March 23, 2016.

Italy fixes tomorrow's debt crisis before today's

06 May 2016

Rome is to tackle the inefficient Italian bankruptcy system, after a bad debt crisis forced big banks to rescue straggling lenders. Its proposals are radical, but they don’t tackle a pre-existing 320 billion euro pile of dud loans. That may not help the weakest lenders much.

The 1109 carat "Lesedi La Rona" diamond is displayed in a case at Sotheby's in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 4, 2016.

Prize diamond sales mask a less sparkly mid-market

06 May 2016

Three whopper gems will be auctioned by Sotheby’s and Christie’s, with one set to fetch $70 million. These hefty price tags give the diamond trade a misleading lustre. Slowing Chinese purchases and a supply glut mean the outlook for more mundane stones is far less dazzling.

A dog looks from inside a house in Shepshed, central England August 6, 2013.

U.S. watchdog gives bank customers back their bite

05 May 2016

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reviving class-action lawsuits as a way to fight unfair fees and other scams. Existing rules often allow only solo cases in arbitration, where lenders get the edge. The masses deserve a better shot at bringing Wall Street to heel.

A company logo is seen at a Pfizer office in Dublin, Ireland November 24, 2015.

Pfizer mulls actually having an M&A strategy

05 May 2016

The $205 bln drug giant’s last two huge acquisition attempts failed. Pfizer could yet try another merger to cut its tax rate, it could enter a potentially heated auction for $10 bln biotech Medivation, or it could split up. Dealmaking success depends on having clearer goals.

Sadiq Khan, Britain's Labour Party candidate for Mayor of London and his wife Saadiya pose for photographers after casting their votes for the London mayoral elections at a polling station in south London Britain May 5, 2016.

Who's London's next mayor? It doesn't matter

05 May 2016

Neither Sadiq Khan nor Zac Goldsmith, frontrunners for May 5’s vote, have the tools to fix London’s housing shortage. That’s a national issue. The question for businesses isn’t who runs the capital after Boris Johnson, but whether expansion elsewhere in the UK makes more sense.

Features

Peter Thal Larsen

India shows China the way to deal with bad debt

06 May 2016

State-backed banks in both countries have lent too much to politically connected companies that are now in trouble. While India is pushing lenders to come clean, China is still not admitting the extent of the problem. Future growth depends on a proper cleanup.

Columns

Rob Cox

Cox: What Mark Zuckerberg could learn in Quebec

28 April 2016

The founders of mini-mart leviathan Couche-Tard devised a clever way to balance supporters and detractors of dual-class stock by eliminating voting rights over time. The idea would suit Facebook and many others, if only bad tendencies fueled by ego could somehow be overcome.