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Sunday, 02 August 2015

BREAKINGVIEWS

Chevron

Exxon and Chevron may soon see European sights

31 July 2015

The two U.S. oil giants experienced even bigger drops in profit than were expected, pushing dividend yields closer to those of rivals across the Atlantic. Shell and BP have been more aggressive on capex and job cuts. If oil prices tumble further, Exxon and others could follow.

A paramilitary policeman stands guard while fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Stadium September 6, 2008.

Olympics committee gets it right with Beijing 2022

31 July 2015

The Winter Games won’t boost China’s growth, end repression, or win the country much extra respect. It might help soft power, but then most countries already do whatever China asks. Freed from such false hopes, everyone can sit back, have fun and admire the fake snow. 

Marijuana-based products are displayed at the "Oregon's Finest" medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregon April 8, 2014.

Ganja bank makes potent case for U.S. legitimacy

31 July 2015

A Colorado credit union is suing for access to national check clearing and money transfer systems. The law may be hazy, but opponents sound as if they’re just blowing smoke. Public safety, revenue and transparency are solid reasons for financial regulators to mellow out.

An employee arranges vegetables in the fresh foods section.

Carrefour suggests Tesco can retain global goals

31 July 2015

The French retailer is performing better in Latin America and Asia than at home, while its similarly sized UK rival might sell foreign assets to relieve balance-sheet strain. But if Tesco can live with the debt, it might be emboldened by Carrefour’s global shopping experience.

Signage is seen at the front of a branch of Lloyds TSB bank, in the City of London.

Lloyds’ comely capital surplus has many admirers

31 July 2015

The UK bank raised its dividend despite laying aside 1.4 bln pounds to atone for mis-sold products. Lloyds investors hope more of its 2.9 billion pounds of excess capital will come their way. It might, if the taxman, regulators and peeved customers don’t get there first.

Numbers add up to HSBC leaving London

31 July 2015

The global bank is reviewing its head office location based on 11 criteria such as economic importance, transparency and tax. A ranking based on data compiled by Breakingviews shows Singapore, Hong Kong and even Toronto are more attractive than HSBC’s current home base.

A supporter of Airbnb holds a sign during a rally in New York January 20, 2015.

Airbnb may force innkeepers into M&A pillow talk

30 July 2015

Sheraton owner Starwood is looking for partners. A deal with IHG might help it boost prices and lower costs, but even with synergies, the merged firms would barely match Airbnb’s $25 bln valuation. As the home rental service’s clout grows, hotels will face some sleepless nights.

The wheels of an indoor bicycle are seen spinning at a SoulCycle class at their Union Square location in New York April 13, 2011.

SoulCycle IPO endorphins inhibit pain potential

31 July 2015

The indoor cycling chain is inviting investors to join its “tribe” of athletes, renegades and rockstars. The company is profitable and sales accelerated by more than 50 pct in the first quarter to $35 mln. But management, growth plans and faddishness are weak points in the spin.

A woman is seen in silhouette as she walks behind the logo of BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas' M&A machine spits out growth and risk

31 July 2015

France’s top bank by assets cranked out resurgent second-quarter earnings of 2.6 bln euros. Three takeovers in 2014 are delivering results. Yet dealmaking sprawl has tripped up rivals in the past. It might be a good time for the Belgian state to trim its 10 pct stake.

IMF's parental threat may help euro kids grow up

31 July 2015

The global lender only got involved in the Greek mess because the euro zone was too young to deal with its own problems. As a third bailout nears, the IMF says it wants out, unless both sides behave sensibly. This call for realism may actually be listened to.

Traffic and pedestrians.

Auto rivals carpool in $2.8 bln bid for map assets

31 July 2015

Daimler, BMW and Audi are offering 2.6 times revenue for HERE, Nokia’s investment-heavy digital maps unit. The price is high, but the German luxury carmakers’ strategic logic is solid. Map systems are scarce, and a good one will be a competitive advantage for driverless cars. 

British American Tobacco Cigarette Factory (BAT) in Bayreuth

Philip Morris can cut down easily in Jakarta

31 July 2015

The tobacco giant must lift the free float of its Indonesian unit. The potential $1.5 billion sell-down comes as an economic slowdown hits cigarette sales. Luckily for the Marlboro man, investors can hardly ignore a share sale by the country’s largest listed group.

A cardboard cutout of Canadian actor Ryan Gosling is seen in the Buzzfeed headquarters in New York  January 9, 2014.

BuzzFeed investors could be playing Price is Right

30 July 2015

The digital publisher and Vox are poised to get fresh capital from NBC. BuzzFeed’s $250 mln share would value it at $1.5 bln. That’s not far off the price of recent media deals. With the promise of millennials and advertisers strong, this begins to look like a reality show.

Videos

Columns

Rob Cox

Rob Cox: Rick Perry is running for the wrong job

30 July 2015

The presidential candidate and ex-governor of Texas is a proponent of laissez-faire markets. Yet he has joined a global chorus of politicos and watchdogs pushing policies to break up the big banks. If he’s serious, he’d make a better Wall Street regulator than White House boss.

Edward Hadas

Edward Hadas: Nikkei joins demographic denial cult

29 July 2015

Nikkei is the latest Japanese company to look for growth outside the shrinking domestic market. Its Financial Times purchase may work out, but the approach is flawed. Few companies can profitably escape their demographic destiny. It may be better to accept steady decline. 

Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon: The optimist’s guide to Greece

27 July 2015

There are so many ways things could go wrong in Greece that it’s easy to miss how things could also go right. The good scenario involves the ECB buying up Greek bonds, the lifting of capital controls and a deal on debt relief – all by year-end.

Features

Rob Cyran

Breakdown: Watchdogs chew on health insurer deals

24 July 2015

Anthem and Cigna are the latest big U.S. providers to serve up a blockbuster merger. But they and their peers need to satisfy a slew of regulators before chowing down. Here’s a look at the agencies and the transactions officials may be asked to swallow in a concentrated industry.