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
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Counting anything in a country of India's size is a mammoth exercise. Nine months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped high-value banknotes in a clampdown on the “black economy”, there is no clarity on how much of the banned $240 billion individuals returned. Still, this has given real momentum to India’s anti-corruption campaign.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - SoftBank's Indian shopping spree is venture capital with a kick. The Japanese conglomerate's Vision Fund is splashing $2.5 billion on online retailer Flipkart, effectively rendering worthless an earlier near $1 billion punt on rival startup Snapdeal. The investment ranks as the largest private bet on an Indian tech company. But it also shines a light on SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son's big-ticket investment flops.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sacred cows are blessing India's chicken industry. Shares of midcap poultry specialist Venky's, part of a group that also owns British football club Blackburn Rovers, have risen around 440 percent this year fuelled in part by a campaign against beef consumption. Although the Supreme Court on July 11 suspended a recent government ban on cattle slaughter, the country's rising middle class will remain hungry for the birds.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - India's bond market deserves a good whipping. Ajay Tyagi, the straight-talking new chairman of the country's securities regulator, is cracking down on the fast-growing corporate bond market following a spate of scandals. With a large chunk of new issues coming from companies in dubious financial health, it is wise to force the market to raise standards.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - It is hard to let go of a unicorn. Indian e-commerce firm Snapdeal has rejected a roughly $850 million takeover offer from its larger rival Flipkart, a person familiar with the situation told Breakingviews. A sale at this price would fall short of the startup industry’s magical $1 billion-plus mark, let alone the peak valuation of $6.5 billion Snapdeal hit more than a year ago. But the rebuff is probably a mistake: buyers are scarce and a delay is only likely to lead to a lower price.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - India's Ambani brothers are never far from drama. An upstart telecom operator led by elder brother Mukesh, the country's richest man, has upended the industry. Younger brother Anil's Reliance Communications is suffering especially. The pain has some way to run.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - An Indian yogi is demonstrating the power of local consumer champions. Baba Ramdev, a saffron-robed tycoon, says his company, Patanjali Ayurved, doubled sales last year to more than $1.6 billion, making it bigger than the local arms of Colgate and GlaxoSmithKline. His multinational rivals barely grew at all over the same period, as a shock move to scrap bank notes disrupted everyday life. Patanjali's powerful pull underscores a new trend of emerging market consumers attracted to national champions.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Infosys' cash return is a useful distraction from bigger questions. Boss Vishal Sikka is following his rivals at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and HCL Technologies in returning up to $2 billion of its unused war chest. The payout will help lift some of the gloom around the Indian IT firm, which has been beset by worries about slowing growth and top-level disagreements.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Reliance Industries' rise challenges assumptions about what investors want from India's corporate giants. After four years, Mukesh Ambani's $70 billion flagship firm is on the verge of reclaiming its mantle as the country's most valuable company from IT giant Tata Consultancy Services. India’s richest man is reaping the rewards of massive risk taking.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - India needs to convince the country’s poor that bailing out banks is in their interests. That is the top challenge facing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government as it seeks to clean up state-owned lenders. Meanwhile, banks are scared of being accused of selling bad assets too cheaply. Any comprehensive plan will have to overcome both hurdles.