Robert is Assistant Editor of Reuters Breakingviews, based in London. He has a special focus on investment, writing about it on a global basis. Robert worked for The Times, in London, in a variety of writing and editing capacities from 1998 to 2010. For nearly 10 years he edited the newspaper’s daily Tempus investment column. He was also deputy business editor, acting business editor, a leader writer, the chief obituaries writer and a news editor in the home affairs department. Prior to joining The Times, Robert worked on The Independent and the London Evening Standard. His most recent book is called The Unwritten Laws of Finance and Investment (Profile, 2010). As a part-time lecturer, Robert led the financial journalism specialism at The City University in London in 10 academic years between 1995 and 2007. Follow Robert on Twitter @RobertCole7
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Marc Bolland’s six years running the $10.5 bln UK retailer has left its food business shining and troublesome non-food business more efficient, even if sales are weak. In the days when M&S’s competition was basically British, that might have excited investors. Not anymore.
The UK grocer could buy Home Retail Group, the owner of homewares chain Argos, at the current price and make a return above 8 percent - with no growth or synergies. Cost savings could add much more. The execution risks are high, but the target is right to hold out for more.
The UK supermarket has disclosed an approach for underperforming Home Retail Group. At around 1.1 bln stg it might prove a bargain acquisition, and Sainsbury’s grocery business faces acute price pressure. But homewares and electricals could just add trolley-loads of risk.
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