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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Stocks and Funds

Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt listens to a question as he speaks at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts April 25, 2013.

Google's Schmidt again plays adult in DE Shaw buy

24 April 2015

The tech giant’s executive chairman is taking 20 pct of the hedge fund firm off bankrupt Lehman Brothers’ hands. The billionaire was brought into Google to supervise its young founders. Not for him the frivolity of, say, a sports team investment like Steve Ballmer’s.

A scientist works in a laboratory

AstraZeneca's reliance on one-offs is unsettling

24 April 2015

The pharma group managed to beat expectations in Q1 despite wrestling with patent expiries. One-off disposals of $309 million helped boost operating profit to $1.8 billion. Raising funds makes sense at a time when Astra is challenged, but investors shouldn’t rely on them.

A general view shows the HSBC building in the financial district of Canary Wharf in London

HSBC exit from London is far from clear-cut

24 April 2015

The UK-based emerging markets bank says it is looking at where it should best be headquartered. The regulatory, economic and reputational costs of being in London have clearly risen. But HSBC’s realistic alternatives – Hong Kong and Shanghai – both carry major risks.    

Ana Botin, Chairman of Banco Santander, gestures at the Ending the Experiment event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 22, 2015.

Santander finds Uncle Sam-friendly way to expand

24 April 2015

Spain’s biggest bank is merging its asset management arm with that of UniCredit, with private equity help. Both lenders gain from meshing cash-generative, capital-light businesses. But Santander does so without adding scale in the United States - where it still faces big regulatory hurdles.

Bids and Buyouts

Pedestrians walk past the Time Warner Cable headquarters in New York February 13, 2014.

Time Warner Cable's greed comes home to roost

24 April 2015

When boss Rob Marcus lunged for Comcast’s $45 bln bid, he gave in to the buyer’s demand that it pay no fee if the deal got torpedoed. Now Marcus is empty-handed in a rapidly changing industry. Rival suitor Charter may return, but Time Warner Cable’s negotiating power is weaker.

Acrobats perform in front of an electronic board showing the emblem for the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) during an event celebrating the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province October 19, 2012.

Circus deal risks becoming lunge at falling knife

21 April 2015

TPG and others are buying Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil at a $1.5 bln valuation. That’s over $1 bln less than the price secured by founder Guy Laliberté in an ill-fated 2008 sale to Dubai. Recent shows have struggled, though, and hoped-for Chinese growth could easily stumble.

The offices and studios of Comcast Entertainment Group is pictured in Los Angeles

Comcast's boss should live to buy another day

23 April 2015

A collapse of the $45 bln Time Warner Cable deal would leave controlling shareholder Brian Roberts with a second ugly scar. Overconfidence also contributed to a failed tilt at Disney a decade ago. Comcast rebounded with NBCU, which suggests Roberts will be back before too long.

Pharmaceutical tablets

Teva's $40 bln hostile bid puts hope over reality

21 April 2015

The Israeli drugmaker needs a deal to shore up falling sales. Smaller rival Mylan offers that and oodles of synergies. A tie-up, though, would face antitrust concerns, require high leverage and have to get around a powerful poison pill. No wonder the market is skeptical.

Money and Markets

A Budweiser sign is displayed along side a sign for Goose Island beer at a store in Brooklyn, New York January 14, 2015.

M&A advice can be seen clearly with beer goggles

24 April 2015

Corporate finance has more in common with lager and ale than meets the eye. The bulge bracket in both industries had been losing market share to smaller craft practitioners. The Guinness makers of mergers – Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley – are staging a slow pour of a comeback.


UK election

24 April 2015

Who will gain from “follow the money” voting?

Edward Hadas

Review: The politics of anti-inequality

24 April 2015

Anthony Atkinson’s “Inequality” is a UK-centric manifesto to help the poor and restrain the rich. The Oxford academic’s specific proposals are mostly sensible, but they dodge serious questions about the role of the welfare state and the balance of national and global justice.

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband speaks during the launch of their Manifesto for Young People at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln, central England April 17, 2015.

Labour to gain from "follow the money" UK voting

24 April 2015

People vote with their wallets. The governing Conservative coalition may earn credit for presiding over five years of low interest rates and a strongish pound. But a Breakingviews calculator suggests a weaker record on growth, house prices and stocks could swing votes to Labour.