HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Buying $25 billion worth of malls is mere retail therapy. Westfield, the global piece of an empire started back in 1960 by Australian magnate Frank Lowy, is selling itself to European commercial property group Unibail-Rodamco. The combined company will be a tangled mess and merger savings are scant. Given consumer trends, getting bigger may be a temporary mood enhancer.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A last-minute activist attack on Toshiba could be good for investors. Argyle Street Management argues the Japanese conglomerate need not follow through on an $18 billion leveraged buyout of its NAND flash-memory business. The Hong Kong hedge-fund manager has a solid case. While an immediate halt is unlikely, a later U-turn is both possible and desirable.
WASHINGTON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Donald Trump’s rhetoric against the World Trade Organization hurts America first. The U.S. president is no friend to the global trade body, which is hunkering down for its biennial confab. Reforms are needed but America has won most of its complaints, including against China.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bitcoin action is now available without the bitcoin. CBOE Global Markets launched its futures on the crypto-currency late on Sunday. It opens fresh avenues for trading, but for now the new contracts have little utility beyond speculation.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - A plan to move the Bank of England out of London defies financial gravity. Britain’s opposition Labour party says it may move parts of the central bank to Birmingham. That may appeal to voters, but both the BBC and HSBC have found relocating out of the capital expensive and difficult. The idea also ignores the reason London exerts such a strong pull.
SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Uber's entire business has been predicated on flooring it right at the establishment. Co-founder Travis Kalanick once said his company was in a campaign where "the incumbent is an asshole called taxi." New boss Dara Khosrowshahi just pulled a U-turn in Singapore by striking a deal with ComfortDelGro, the powerful local cab operator.
DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bart Chilton wants to marry digital dreams with regulated reality. The former commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is teaming with a group including a former TPG executive to launch a crypto-currency backed by oil. His promise of stable value sits oddly against bitcoin’s wild ride. While the vehicle offers a tax edge over oil-backed exchange-traded funds, it’s hard to imagine this coin existing if not for the wider craze.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The president of Yes California leads a campaign arguing that the Golden State should become an independent country - an idea increasingly referred to as Calexit. He explains why secession would be good for the state’s economy and how he’ll get the rest of the nation to buy in.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Brexit is rapidly becoming a symbol without substance. Prime Minister Theresa May’s last-minute deal with the European Union reduces the chances of a chaotic divorce but exposes the difficulty of preserving trade flows after the separation. A lengthy transition period will create further scope for May – or another Prime Minister – to make concessions.
TOKYO (Reuters Breakingviews) - South Korea’s corporate tax increase is a contrarian one. The consensus from Washington to Tokyo is that lower levies stimulate innovation and job growth. Yet President Moon Jae-in’s move to crank up taxes on the highest-earning companies makes eminent sense. Asia’s fourth-largest economy is so unbalanced, it needs socialist redistribution to transform its capitalism.
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