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) - Zoopla has enticed a new twist on a classic UK property punt. Silver Lake on Friday offered $3 billion for ZPG , owner of the property search firm. The U.S. buyout group’s bet mirrors that of the property speculators that use its target’s website. Leverage makes it look a better deal, but increases the risk if the market tanks.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - IAG has picked a good time to chase Norwegian’s jet stream. The owner of British Airways may bid for budget carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle. The target’s plan to disrupt transatlantic travel is taking off, but its finances are stretched, and rival bidders could struggle to get off the ground.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Apollo’s Greyhound bet looks past UK politics. Transatlantic bus and rail company FirstGroup has rejected an approach from the U.S. buyout giant. The offer is bold given the backlash against Britain’s private rail operators. But the company’s American operations, which include the iconic long-distance buses, may hide some value.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - SoftBank’s silly Swiss Re bet may be getting smaller. The Japanese tech and telecom group is unlikely to buy more than a 10 percent stake, the Swiss reinsurer announced on Wednesday. That’s substantially less than previously suggested. Given the dubious benefits of any tie-up, though, it’s still a questionable use of SoftBank’s cash.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Credit Suisse’s reputation is taking a knock from a shock surge in global stock market volatility. The value of an exchange-traded fund set up by the Swiss bank to benefit from calm markets has collapsed due to recent turbulence. While the financial damage to Credit Suisse is minimal, it’s an unwelcome reminder of past mistakes. The reputational fallout could be more severe.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - UK Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to punish groups that fail to protect retirement benefits, like collapsed outsourcer Carillion. New tools could include fining companies or curbing payouts. But the regulator can do more with the powers it already has to make companies fill gaps.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The UK government is worried Interserve will follow Carillion into oblivion. A similar threat in the banking sector would surely prompt the state to deploy familiar tools to contain contagion. But the government’s dual role as client and bailout-wary market promoter complicates matters in the construction and support-services sectors.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Carillion’s pension hole is a wake-up call for UK companies and their banks. The construction firm, which went into liquidation on Monday, last year estimated the shortfall in its retirement fund at 587 million pounds. That liability has now been transferred to Britain’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF), which reckons the deficit is nearer 900 million pounds. That’s bad news for Carillion’s creditors – and an omen for companies with similar obligations.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The collapse of Carillion is a stress test for the UK authorities’ faith in outsourcing. The troubled construction firm has gone into liquidation after failing to secure fresh funding. The government was right not bail out one of its key suppliers. Nevertheless, a messy cleanup will raise multiple questions about the risks in handing state work to private contractors.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ryanair investors are expecting a higher-cost future – but it may become more expensive than they think. They have knocked over 2 billion euros off the budget airline’s market value since it caved in to pilots and recognised unions on Friday. That’s more than the extra staff outlays may be worth. If easyJet is a guide, though, the $18 billion Ryanair will have to go further.