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Monday, 01 September 2014

Stocks and Funds


China tech shows there's value in being number two

01 September 2014

Chipping away at giants like Baidu and Alibaba means finding a niche. The rapid growth of JD, VIPShop, Qihoo, and YY shows there’s room for new models, and foreign investors are happy to fund them. But the line between healthy competition and profit-eroding rivalry is thin.

Jack Dorsey, founder of Square and Twitter, speaks on stage during day one of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012 event at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse in San Francisco, California September 10, 2012.

Square swipes a hollow-looking $6 bln valuation

28 August 2014

That’s what the payments company may be worth after its latest fundraising. It’s big, but a deflated figure, considering Square’s former hype, the small amount raised, and tech rivals’ ease securing higher valuations. Blame increasing competition for Square’s comparative malaise.

Part of a slogan is pictured on the side of a Tesco supermarket delivery truck in New Malden southwest London June 4, 2014.

Agenda for Tesco CEO: price cuts, board and UK

29 August 2014

There’s a jumbo profit alert, a hacked-back dividend and lower capex. The new chief exec is also bringing forward his start date. Dave Lewis needs to reduce prices, rebuild the board, and launch a strategic review of the international business.

Wires connect accumulators to start one of the cars, February 2, 2012.

Risky AA just got riskier

28 August 2014

The chief exec and CFO are quitting the breakdown firm two months after the IPO. It may not be a post-float car crash: the market seems to like the show of decisiveness by the chairman, now de facto CEO. But the timing is troubling, as is AA’s rejection of conventional governance.

Bids and Buyouts

A tourist takes a picture of the statue of Christ the Redeemer ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro June 8, 2014.

Vivendi boosts shareholder credentials in GVT sale

28 August 2014

The French media group says it favours Telefonica’s $10 bln bid for its Brazilian mobile unit. Telefonica could pay more, but it’s good that Vivendi has chosen the surest exit for shareholders. As for rival bidder Telecom Italia, it now faces an uncertain future.

A Tim Hortons coffee cup is seen on the ground outside a shop near Times Square in New York August 26, 2014.

Burger King U.S. backlash may prevent Canadian one

27 August 2014

A planned HQ north of the border after the $11 bln purchase of Tim Hortons has ignited a tax furor. A shortage of substance makes this look like a PR own goal. But it may be less bad for the deal than a media focus on changes at Hortons, which could provoke scrutiny in Ottawa.

A man walks past a Telefonica building in Barcelona, July 31, 2014.

Telefonica may have to inch higher for GVT

28 August 2014

The Spanish telecom group has given Vivendi a soft deadline to accept a new 7.5 bln euro cash-and-stock offer for Brazilian subsidiary GVT. Telecom Italia’s bid is only 7 bln euros, has less cash and is more conditional. Still, Vivendi could yet wring more out of this auction.

The headquarters of CIT Group in seen in New York.

One man may single-handedly revive U.S. bank M&A

27 August 2014

Wall Street consigliere Rodge Cohen was given a rare nod from both sides on CIT’s acquisition of OneWest. It suggests Sullivan & Cromwell’s chairman broke through with reluctant regulators. The deal could help restart bank merger plans that have been on hold since the crisis.

Money and Markets

Pro-democracy protesters hold up their mobile phones during a campaign to kick off the Occupy Central civil disobedience event in front of the financial Central district in Hong Kong August 31, 2014.

Democracy snub leaves Hong Kong only bad choices

01 September 2014

Citizens in the former colony have two options: choose between Beijing-approved chief executive candidates, or don’t vote at all. The new ruling leaves little room for compromise and risks a showdown with protesters. China’s leaders seem to care ever less what the world thinks.

Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia speaks at Internet Week in New York May 19, 2014.

TV broadcasters missing big picture in Aereo fight

29 August 2014

CBS, Disney and others oppose the Barry Diller-backed streaming startup’s rebirth as a cable firm. But conceding could put online services and, say, Time Warner Cable on equal legal footing and create more competition for content. That’s a win for viewers and networks alike.

Brazil's President Rousseff gestures as she speaks during a ceremony

Rousseff challenger now owns two Clinton slogans

29 August 2014

Brazil is in recession, making “the economy, stupid” loom large for October’s presidential poll. The sudden rise of Marina Silva’s star makes “change vs. more of the same” a powerful theme, too. Rousseff’s chickens are coming home to roost just in time to threaten her re-election.

Neil Unmack

ECB keeps hoping in ABS field of dreams

29 August 2014

Mario Draghi expects investors to come if he builds a market that he admits barely exists. Purchases of asset-backed securities might help growth and boost inflation. Yet the obstacles are substantial, and regulation is a thorn. Government aid would help.