The pharma group has suffered two big drug failures. The setback over Alzheimer’s is no shock—the disease has been a money loser for big pharma. A second knock in Roche’s core cancer franchise hurts more. The failures will increase pressure on Roche to deploy excess cash.
Thanks to stagnant sales the world’s top soda makers – with $300 bln of combined market cap – already attracted agitators in 2014. Now Pepsi is risking a proxy fight over billionaire Nelson Peltz’s break-up plan. Coke, too, may face a radical shake-up if it can’t reignite growth.
The central bank will buy sovereign debt – but each national government may have to set aside provisions in line with their own risks, Reuters says. It may secure German approval. But it would also weaken quantitative easing, and highlight a fragmenting euro zone.
A former official and a property mogul have been found guilty of charges relating to misconduct in public office. The transparency, unpredictability and lack of a neat ending make it very different from similar cases in mainland China. That’s just the way rule of law should be.
When little-known Asian buyers pounce on foreign companies, the resulting deals are often overpriced or lacking in strategy. The $1.5 bln Thai purchase of U.S. tinned seafood company Bumble Bee swims against the tide. Thai Union’s focused, low-key approach has lessons for others.
Everything is going up in private equity except deal volume. Acquisition multiples are at a record high, as is competition from corporate buyers. For big firms such as Apollo and Blackstone, $1.5 trln of purchasing power may be tough to deploy without cratering returns.
The FDIC’s latest belt tightening means its budget is now 42 percent lower than at its peak. With the OCC warning of lower lending standards, that might sound worrisome. But the FDIC’s actually shifting resources to where they’re needed most – a sign it’s learned from the crisis.
Regulators are to unbundle charges for financial analysis and trading in Europe. Greater transparency is welcome. But buyside and sellside alike will be cheered that asset managers can still charge research to clients. Determining value for money may be tricky for end-investors.
The German bank is set to review its direction in 2015. Its bet on capital markets remains unproven. Likely regulatory settlements in the coming months could raise further doubts. Recent executive moves suggest Deutsche is keeping options open for strategy and leadership change.
Reforms targeting reckless lending, homebuilding and graft have stopped the mess getting worse. Behaviour won’t really change until China deals with its backlog of bad debts, empty houses and dirty secrets. This would be a good year to sweep the skeletons from the closet.
Companies have been using that word to justify building internet-based empires out of a mish-mash of assets with hard-to-identify synergies. Asian players like China’s Alibaba and Japan’s Softbank are amongst biggest fans of this unhelpful jargon.
The public offering of Juno Therapeutics presents an apt finale to the best year for biotech IPOs. It’s only a year old and revenue free, but its cancer fighting technology is hot. Juno’s $2 bln valuation shows capitalism’s ability to catalyze investors’ hopes and resources.
The Russian president insists that prosperity is around the corner if his countrymen can only endure another two bad years. But as sanctions and weak oil prices push Russia towards recession, no serious reform is in sight. Putin’s optimism should be a cause for serious pessimism.