LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Gilles Grapinet is testing financial credulity in pursuit of scale. Less than two years after shelling out 2.3 billion euros for the payments arm of Switzerland’s SIX, the chief executive of Paris-listed Worldline is offering 7.8 billion euros for French rival Ingenico. The deal would catapult the company into the top five global payment processors. But shareholders risk being stuck with dour financial returns.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - So much for amicable partnership. Volkswagen’s truck division Traton has made a long-awaited but unsolicited bid to take full control of U.S. rival Navistar International. The premium looks underpowered compared with the benefits of an alliance. Falling industry volumes may leave the American company, and shareholder Carl Icahn, with few attractive alternatives.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Henri Poupart-Lafarge clearly isn’t one for regrets. The chief executive of 10 billion euro Alstom expressed remorse for using the term “European champion” during his ill-fated hook up with Siemens’ train business, which competition authorities blocked. A potential union with Canadian peer Bombardier’s rail division, as the two sides are discussing according to Bloomberg, would create a transatlantic train-building champion instead. It will still test antitrust logic.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The battle over Santander’s CEO has given human shape to banking’s fault line. It’s a year since Ana Botin, the Spanish lender’s chairman, reversed her decision to make UBS executive Andrea Orcel the group’s next boss. In the coming months his 112 million euro lawsuit threatens to highlight the clash of cultures between retail and wholesale lending.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Conspiracy theories, government plots, prison escapes, billions of dollars of shareholder value up in smoke. If Netflix commissions a yarn based on the life of Carlos Ghosn they won’t lack for salacious material, judging by the ex-Renault boss’s eyebrow-raising press conference on Wednesday. Still, declining to substantiate conspiracy claims about his downfall is a missed opportunity to make headway in the court of public opinion.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Aston Martin Lagonda increasingly resembles the ticking bomb in a James Bond movie. Shares in the 007 carmaker dropped on Tuesday morning after boss Andy Palmer announced another profit warning. Solid sales of a new SUV will be needed merely to meet mounting interest payments and avoid a balance sheet detonation.
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The looming $46 billion merger of France’s Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may go down as one of the first major corporate tie-ups driven by climate risk. Yet the novelty will quickly wear off as chief executives wake up to the financial impact of global warming. That gives climate-conscious advisers an edge.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Daimler and BMW should quit fumbling around the backseat. Faced with slumping global demand for their pricey cars, merging would reap synergies worth more than the 13 billion euros in annual savings they’re currently targeting. As Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles consummate their marriage in 2020, the German heavyweights will model one of their own.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - There are some benefits to having a former investment banker as president. Shares in La Française des Jeux rose by up to 18% on their debut after the government-controlled national lottery made its stock market debut in a listing championed by Emmanuel Macron, the ex-Rothschild banker who now occupies the Elysee Palace. But resurgent protests and a national strike will make it harder for him to flog other state assets in the coming year.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - French carmaker Renault is challenged on numerous fronts and still smarting from a nasty spat with its largest owner, the French government. Even in good times, remuneration restraint at state-owned enterprises makes it hard to attract talent. To snag the right new boss, 13 billion euro Renault will need to pay up. It can look to the skies for some inspiration.