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Breakingviews - Norway’s offices are prize in $3.4 billion bidding war

Norwegian offices have become the surprise must-have asset. That at least is what two Swedish companies have signalled this week by launching a bidding war for real estate firm Entra, valuing the Oslo-based company at more than $3.3 billion. Steady cash flows from reliable public sector tenants may be alluring, but the Norwegian company’s shareholders stand to benefit the most.

Breakingviews - Lowly Europe bank values will outlast dividend ban

The decision to ban Europe’s banks from paying dividends this year is a strong candidate for the most maligned regulatory edict of recent years. Supervisors stopped payouts in an attempt to preserve capital amid rising loan losses and demand for credit. In the eyes of critics, they ruined the case for investing in an already-battered sector. That argument lacks evidence, however. Share prices may remain low even if restrictions are lifted.

Breakingviews - Alibaba and Hong Kong celebrate happy anniversary

Alibaba’s relationship with Hong Kong has been a rocky one. Tensions range from the Chinese e-commerce giant’s 2013 decision to snub the city and take its then record-setting $25 billion initial public offering to New York, to last month’s shock suspension of financial technology affiliate Ant’s giant stock sale. And yet the two have plenty to celebrate on the one-year anniversary of the company’s landmark secondary listing.

Breakingviews - Oil’s latest boost has longer-term thrust

Oil prices are escaping their tunnel vision. Since June, Brent has oscillated between $37 and $45 a barrel, as investors wrestled with a succession of Covid-19 lockdown snakes and potential vaccine ladders. There’s more than one reason to think that the latest jump to $48 a barrel, the highest level since March, may be a new floor. 

Breakingviews - Murdoch lets Bertelsmann pay up for publishing

Rupert Murdoch is writing his own ending in the book publishing M&A brouhaha. Rival Bertelsmann will pay $2.2 billion for the U.S. market's third-biggest book purveyor Simon & Schuster, the companies said on Wednesday. The German media group already owns the massive Penguin Random House and the deal would make it the biggest by far. But U.S. regulators could thwart the transaction too, leaving News Corp's architect an opening.

Breakingviews - UK economy beds down for slow, sluggish recovery

Britain’s economy looks to be heading for the deep freeze. That was the takeaway on Wednesday from the country’s finance minister Rishi Sunak, who is preparing to take the country’s borrowing to nearly 400 billion pounds just as estimates for a rapid recovery next year have been scaled back. Brexit could make things even worse.

Breakingviews - Trump could box Biden into a corner on China

Donald Trump has only two more months to lash out at China as U.S. president. But his successor, Joe Biden, will also feel the impact of whatever blows the outgoing commander in chief decides to land before he departs in January. The risk is that the president-elect will be left with little room to make his own mark.

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