MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Italy’s radical government is trying a risky gamble. Its promise to boost spending has triggered a clash with the European Commission. Lengthy procedures mean the spat could drag on until European Parliament elections in May. With radical parties gaining ground, the next Commission may be more lenient or weaker. But intense market pressure could spoil the plan.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - It suddenly feels like the end of an era in Italian high finance. Financier Vincent Bolloré has unexpectedly quit a shareholder pact that has pulled the strings at Mediobanca – and through it at Italy Inc. – ever since the bank was listed in 1956. The move is a mixed blessing for Chief Executive Alberto Nagel.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Aston Martin should lose the go-faster stripes. The UK high-end carmaker’s pricing range for its October market debut, released on Thursday, implies a maximum equity price tag of 5.1 billion pounds. While the manufacturer of James Bond cars has a luxury brand, it’s not yet totally suited to the fastest lane.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - The global fight against sea pollution just got a powerful ally. Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign investment fund said on Wednesday it wanted companies it invests in to explain how they plan to save the ocean from threats of massive plastic littering and overfishing. Unlike a recent spat over the fund’s intended disposal of oil and gas stocks, these good intentions should make headway.
NEW YORK/MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sergio Marchionne leaves a massive sweater to fill. Fiat Chrysler's board replaced him as chief executive on Saturday after complications from recent surgery caused his health to deteriorate. His successor, Mike Manley, runs Jeep – the Italian-American automaker's most profitable brand that's also at the core of Fiat's new five-year plan. That ought to provide continuity. But without Marchionne at the wheel, 30 billion-euro Fiat may be a more attractive takeover target.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - AC Milan’s UEFA loss is likely to turn into a gain for U.S. hedge fund Elliott. The famed Italian soccer club has been excluded from next year’s Europa League given doubts over its finances. The ban will likely curb attempts by its struggling Chinese owners to swiftly resell the team – but boosts the chances that creditor Elliott ends up taking on the club for a song.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Immigration has once again become the European Union’s top political challenge. Though fewer people are arriving from Africa and elsewhere than a few years ago, the issue will be central when EU leaders meet next week. A unified approach could help prevent a repeat of the crisis of 2015. The danger is that anti-immigrant sentiment pushes countries like Germany and Italy towards ineffective piecemeal solutions.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Jean Pierre Mustier can’t be faulted for his ambition. In the middle of a demanding turnaround of UniCredit, the Frenchman has once again raised the idea of merging Italy’s biggest bank by assets with his former employer Société Générale, according to the Financial Times. The much-mooted combination would create a behemoth stretching from France to Russia. But Italy’s radical new government presents a fresh obstacle.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Political turmoil in Rome has exposed Italy’s euro fault line. President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday rejected a proposed anti-establishment government amid fears it could take the country out of the single currency. New elections will likely push euro membership to the top of the political agenda.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - The new Italian premier's to-do list is full of hot potatoes. Newcomer Giuseppe Conte, a law professor plucked out of obscurity to lead Italy’s first anti-system government, vowed to defend national interests in all quarters in his first public speech on May 23. If confirmed by parliament, he risks immediate conflict with European Union partners on key economic and policy issues.