Christopher Thompson

Breakingviews - BBVA need not spend all its U.S. winnings on M&A

17 Nov 2020

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Caution is the better part of BBVA’s M&A valour. The Spanish bank has confirmed takeover talks with smaller domestic rival Banco de Sabadell. Even after a deal, boss Carlos Torres will have plenty of capital to spare. Mexico, not Turkey, offers a better chance of higher returns.

Breakingviews - BBVA shows European banks how to exit the U.S

16 Nov 2020

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - European immigrants historically moved west to seek their fortune. Spanish lender BBVA is taking the opposite path after selling its U.S. subsidiary to PNC Financial Services for $11.6 billion in cash. The transaction enables boss Carlos Torres to turn thankless toil into shareholder gold. Wandering peers Banco Santander and HSBC, may struggle to repeat the trip.

Breakingviews - VW bid for Tesla’s crown rests on shaky optimism

14 Oct 2020

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Modesty is not a virtue associated with Tesla founder Elon Musk. Now Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess is trying to match his $426 billion rival’s bluster with a pledge to increase electric-vehicle sales 27-fold by 2025. Still, Musk’s deep battery expertise and the lack of a legacy auto business mean bragging rights ought to remain his to lose.

Breakingviews - Suez white knight is a flawed M&A saviour

02 Oct 2020

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bertrand Camus is doing his best to evade Veolia’s grasp. The boss of 10 billion euros water-to-waste group Suez has backed a prospective takeover bid by French private equity group Ardian to ward off its rival. Shareholders should remain sceptical.

Breakingviews - Preferred wheels of nouveau riche worth a fortune

01 Oct 2020

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - If buying a sports car is a classic sign of mid-life crisis, then Volkswagen appears to be maturing gracefully. The Wolfsburg-based automaker is mulling a sale of iconic Lamborghini – the cherished automotive bling of nouveau riche crypto-traders and the offspring of sheikhs showing off on Instagram. Given VW’s planned shift to electric cars, disposing of the gas-guzzling Italian car marque at a hefty profit is eminently logical.

Breakingviews - Sewage keeps Parisian banking elite in Hermès ties

15 Sep 2020

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Who would have thought that sewage would keep the Parisian investment-banking elite in their Hermès ties? But a hostile bid launched in the lazy days of a pandemic summer by Veolia for control of its waste and water treatment rival Suez, has done precisely that. Some 16 banks are working on the deal, providing utility-like returns which may yet sweeten. 

Breakingviews - Spanish bank deal is model for battered EU lenders

04 Sep 2020

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Spanish banks are taking a lead where many European Union rivals have feared to tread. Caixabank and state-backed Bankia on Thursday evening announced they were in talks about a deal that would create the country’s largest domestic lender with 664 billion euros of assets. The in-market union offers the best way to protect earnings from the effects of negative interest rates and pandemic-induced bad debts.

Breakingviews - UK quarantine surprise spoils more than holidays

14 Aug 2020

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - If dealing with the highest excess death toll in Europe wasn’t bad enough, Brits may have to spend the rest of summer enduring the local weather too. A government quarantine on arrivals from France will sadden holidaymakers - and could also contribute to the UK’s political isolation from Europe.  

Breakingviews - TUI equity call is probably a matter of when

13 Aug 2020

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - “My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse”. Unlike in the classic scene in the first “The Godfather” film, the German government did not have to threaten leisure travel giant TUI with violence, but the cash flow pressures from restrictions related to Covid-19 left Chief Executive Friedrich Joussen with little choice but to take the harsh terms on offer for an emergency loan.   

Breakingviews - Macron will retreat on French reform to win again

03 Jul 2020

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - French President Emmanuel Macron’s reformist credentials are on the line. The former Rothschild investment banker on Friday reshuffled his government, the first step in what he has previously flagged would be a reinvention of his presidency. He may be willing to ditch more than his prime minister in his bid to win re-election in 2022.

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