Stocks and Funds
That’s the minimum number of constituencies the $68 bln carmaker, snagged in a giant engineering deception, must now mollify to restore credibility. Customers, investors, suppliers, dealers, governments, unions, staff and ordinary people each will require a unique approach.
Playboy is to stop publishing pictures of nude women and focus on journalism to try to boost sagging readership. But print industry ad revenue is down 30 pct since 2000 and competition is fierce. The notion that more men really will read Playboy for the articles could be a tease.
Hiring ex-JPMorgan executive Jes Staley as its CEO might augur the UK bank returning to its former investment bank-led growth strategy. Trouble is, growing that kind of business in the new regulatory landscape is hard. And Barclays Capital’s returns were never that great.
Jes Staley oversaw rapid growth at JPMorgan, and the BoE pushed out another expansionist investment banker as the UK bank’s boss in 2012. But Staley will commit to Barclays’ current plan to shrink, and its traders and advisers need a leader. Signing him off will be a tricky call.
Bids and Buyouts
The brewer’s latest deal could trip over a decades-old Supreme Court defeat for former rival Pabst. That case’s crackdown on beer mergers led to a backlash and big JVs like Molson’s with SABMiller. Since AB InBev’s bid for the latter, trustbusters seem ready to turn back the clock.
Budweiser’s parent has made a fourth proposal for the UK-listed brewer at some $103 bln. The cash-and-shares bid is 42 pct above SAB’s stock price before the latest approaches were made, and comes at nearly 15 times last year’s EBITDA. It is just about time to say “I do.”
Having won its UK rival’s agreement to merge, the Budweiser brewer now gets to put its fearsome talent for cost-cutting to work. But that may not be enough. AB InBev will need to create growth and court governments to make the $104 bln bid stack up. Those are different skills.
Michael Dell and others are paying $33 a share for the tech conglomerate. Sure, most of the notional 38 pct premium comes as a flaky tracking stock in EMC sub VMware. But there are no other obvious bidders and breaking up the company is a risky alternative for only slight gains.
Money and Markets
The socialist U.S. candidate would shake up the economy with dramatically more government spending. But promises from free college tuition to a government health system would cost more than $12 trln over a decade – far short of additional revenue, like a Wall Street trading tax.
The return of sizeable IPOs is another sign Indian equities are defying emerging-market gloom. The promise of reform in the world’s fastest-growing large economy has prompted foreign investors to pile in. But high valuations leave plenty of room for disappointment.
U.S. cable network TBS is starting a competitive videogame league with talent agent William Morris in a bid to build on the power of live programs. With online viewership for “League of Legends” battles already on a par with events like soccer’s World Cup, it may be a big score.