Edition:
United Kingdom

Breakingviews

Facebook quest beyond ads should top itinerary

Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s time for Facebook to start looking beyond Madison Avenue. The social network beat profit estimates in the latest quarter as more brands sought to reach its 2 billion users. Yet the torrid pace of revenue growth is cooling off, mobile’s share of advertising has limited upside, and regulators are increasingly questioning the company’s dominance.

Photo

SEC brings dodgy digital-currency sales to earth

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The ballooning market for so-called initial coin offerings – which has boomed to $1.3 billion so far this year – just got a reality check. The Securities and Exchange Commission has decided that last year’s largest sale of crypto-currency tokens, reminiscent of an initial public offering of shares, was indeed a sale of securities and should have complied with U.S. laws governing the process and protecting investors.

Photo

EU play for primary dealers may speed their demise

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Primary dealers are an odd choice for Europe’s next financial land-grab. Officials in the EU may force banks who buy sovereign debt directly to move some jobs out of London after Brexit to retain the privilege, Reuters reported on Wednesday. This could make a business whose appeal is dwindling even less attractive.

Photo

ITV takeover is increasingly plausible plot twist

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - A takeover of ITV seems an increasingly plausible plot twist. Shares in the UK broadcaster, which recently named budget airline easyJet’s Carolyn McCall as its next chief executive, have fallen about 15 percent in three months. Yet the company doesn’t look any less valuable, especially to a bidder prepared to brave a slowdown in the troubled free-to-air TV advertising market.

Photo

CKI’s push into energy-metering looks smart

HONG KONG Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing is making a power play in Germany. His CK Infrastructure unit looks like the frontrunner to buy smart-metering specialist Ista, according to Reuters. That could pay off for CKI investors.

Photo

Exchange Podcast: Duff McDonald

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Harvard Business School has trained world leaders, billionaire entrepreneurs and convicted felons. Duff McDonald, author of “The Golden Passport,” discusses the seamier side of Harvard's teachings with Rob Cox. Listen to the podcast: https://soundcloud.com/reuters/the-exchange-duff-mcdonald

Photo

Jimmy Choo buyout could blister the brand

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Is it wise to run in Jimmy Choos? Michael Kors is going to try. The U.S. brand’s $1.2 billion bid for the UK-listed luxury shoemaker will require it to supercharge sales, elevate margins and find synergies. The buyer’s track record shows that is achievable, but at risk of taking the brand downmarket.

Photo

HNA shines dim light on ownership

HONG KONG HNA Group’s web still looks tangled. A restructuring of the Chinese conglomerate’s shareholding structure only goes so far in allaying concerns about opacity.

Photo

Alphabet opacity hinders Google's antitrust fight

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Alphabet’s opacity is hindering Google's antitrust fight. Despite huge efforts outside its core online search business, the $685 billion juggernaut still looks like a one-trick pony with nearly 90 percent of revenue coming from ad sales. Shedding more light on its autonomous vehicle, YouTube, biotech and other promising ventures might comfort investors about the looming risks of antitrust regulation. It could also help them look past short-term hiccups, like th

Photo

Fintech faithful put payments on a pedestal

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Fintech's faithful are putting payments on a pedestal. Square and PayPal shares are near all-time highs – as are those of venerable outfits like Visa, MasterCard and First Data. They’re each chasing what could be a $2.3 trillion revenue business by 2019, according to McKinsey. But they can’t all be winners.

About Breakingviews

Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time. Sign up for a free trial of our full service at http://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.