NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Activist Elliott is targeting Masayoshi Son’s firm for poor governance and performance. SoftBank could appease the hedge fund by selling investments to finance buybacks. That could include Sprint, whose deal with T-Mobile US just got the nod. Plus: the race for the White House.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson said he doesn’t plan on watching Sunday’s Super Bowl championship game. That won’t stop what may well be 100 million Americans tuning in to see the matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - At least Alice got to leave Wonderland. Anna Wiener isn’t so lucky. In her memoir “Uncanny Valley,” she describes falling down a rabbit hole into Silicon Valley’s strange world of six-figure salaries, unbridled optimism and ersatz meritocracy. She attacks the technology industry’s godlike power to monitor and control consumers of its wares. But along the way Wiener remains stuck in one tech trap: treating most Bay Area denizens as a collection of consumer habits and posts – not as people.
DALLAS/NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Most podcasts are basically blogs with microphones. So media companies looking to invest in the relatively new medium – such as audio streaming company Spotify Technology – should consider the rocky history of blogging titans like Nick Denton and Arianna Huffington. Even blogging’s success stories have struggled to live up to expectations.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The international car boss who fled Japanese authorities is now lambasting Nissan and suing Renault for money due. Breakingviews columnists discuss why the latest twists overshadow the fraying global alliance of three automakers. Also, why China’s Geely wants Aston Martin.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sovereign debt’s bad boy is back. Argentina, the eight-time defaulter, is on the hook for around $100 billion of hard currency debt held in private hands, just part of its hefty borrowings. The International Monetary Fund may complicate new President Alberto Fernandez’s plans for a quick debt fix, with wonky new bond features making the outcome even chancier than usual.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chile’s and Ecuador’s presidents are set to have a tough 2020. Like many of Latin America’s leaders, they should be pushing through tough reforms to help boost their economies. But the recent protests have made this challenging. And this should make growth even lousier, which in turn will make people even angrier. Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno and Sebastian Pinera in Chile look most exposed to this vicious cycle.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The memoir of Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts is the latest edition of a growing subgenre: the defensive billionaire memoir. Authors of such works suggest joining the three-comma club is simpler than one might think. It mostly involves a scrappy upbringing, an early setback, and – most importantly – work. So much work.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - House democrats are backing Trump’s deal with Canada and Mexico even as they charge the president with impeachment. A looming deadline heaping more tariffs on Chinese imports could be kicked down the road, too. The chances of bipartisan support elsewhere, though, are slim.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The German chancellor’s administration is in peril after coalition partner SPD chose left-wingers to lead the party. A snap 2020 election would probably end her 14 years in power and remove another of the world’s centrist governments. Plus: Australia’s colossal bank scandal.