Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Killer whales sometimes hunt seals with carefully-orchestrated attacks to tip them off disintegrating ice floes. UK-listed theme park operator Merlin Entertainments may be planning something similar with SeaWorld, by trying to dislodge its Busch Gardens division. Breaking up the operator famed for its orcas might create some value, but it still looks a slippery target.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Three years into a turnaround, Tesco’s management team has displayed more skill than luck. Chief Executive Dave Lewis has boosted margins at Britain’s biggest supermarket, shrunk the pension deficit and cut debt. The first dividend payment in three years confirms the recovery. Yet threats from inflation, weak consumer demand and online rivals have Tesco shares stuck in a rut.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Nestlé can pre-empt activist Dan Loeb’s next move. The $265 billion Kit Kat maker’s directors are light on consumer and digital expertise. Half the 14 of them are from Switzerland, the company’s home market but one that’s worth just 2 percent of sales. Nestlé’s latest revamp plans are far from radical and the Third Point founder may next seek boardroom changes. Nestlé could head off a fight by beating him to it.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Nestlé’s stake in L’Oréal looks ready for a makeover. The death of Liliane Bettencourt, whose family is the French cosmetics group’s largest shareholder, will revive the debate about the Nescafé owner’s 23 percent stake. Offloading it is the best solution. Putting 24 billion euros of value to better use could become Nestlé Chief Executive Ulf Mark Schneider’s big challenge.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The UK government is trying to send a trade Trojan Horse to Ireland. The European Union wants Northern Ireland’s knotty border issue resolved before Britain’s wider exit terms from the bloc can be agreed. New proposals from London deftly advance the government’s trade agenda, couched in concern for the region’s peace process. It may not work, but it’s smart, because having Dublin onside raises the chances of Britain getting what it wants.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - If data is the world’s most valuable resource, the people who produce it deserve a cut. A new UK law will hand citizens greater power over their online information. For companies, compliance standards – and fines for breaking the rules – will get steeper. Showing people the value of their digital data increases the possibility that they will seek compensation for it.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chinese investors are buying into a London skyline that is past its peak. Two landmark skyscrapers in the city’s financial district have recently been sold to Hong Kong-based bidders. The sky-high prices put pressure on yields at a time when Britain’s departure from the European Union is threatening rents. Still, it is a safer bet than investing at home.
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.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Unilever is half way there on its Kraft Heinz challenge. The Anglo-Dutch owner of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cut costs faster than expected in the first half of the year by reducing ad spend and paying its suppliers less. Its 20 percent operating margin target looks reachable. Yet with U.S. rival Kraft Heinz free to go hostile next month, volume growth remains too low for comfort.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Reckitt Benckiser is showing bigger rivals how it’s done. The British company has agreed to sell its food unit, home to French’s Mustard, for a spicy $4.2 billion to U.S. food group McCormick – a premium to what it looks to be worth, even with no recovery story and limited cost synergies. With buyers this hungry, less efficient peers Unilever and Nestlé ought to emulate the Reckitt recipe.
- Gold: PRECIOUS-Gold falls as hopes of U.S. tax reform boost riskier assets
- Oil Report: Graft probe into Mexico president's ally poses tricky challenge ahead of elections
- British Pound Report: Sterling bounces back, boosted by progress in Brexit talks
- US Dollar Report: FOREX-Dollar rises vs safe havens after U.S. Senate clears way for tax reform