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
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Abertis’ bidders may have a way to avoid becoming M&A roadkill. Italy’s Atlantia and Spain’s ACS are mulling a breakup of the Spanish group, newspapers Expansion and El Confidencial reported on March 8 – instead of each bidding against the other. It would nix the idea of a pan-European global leader. But it would be politically easier, and remove the very real risk of overpaying.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - A landmark national election leaves Italy with only radical options. An anti-establishment surge has crushed the chances of another moderate government taking charge of the euro zone’s third-largest economy. The maverick 5-Star Movement or the hard-right League are best placed to lead a new coalition.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - The failure of a Latvian bank poses an 8 billion euro question for the country’s financial system. That is the amount foreigners have deposited with lenders in the Baltic nation – equivalent to roughly 30 percent of GDP. ABLV, the third-largest bank, is to be wound up after U.S. regulators charged it with money laundering. The cost to local taxpayers will be limited. But it will be harder to contain the fallout for the overall banking system.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Opponents of the euro are rearing their heads again, this time in Italy. Matteo Salvini, leader of the country’s anti-immigration Northern League party, has reiterated his opposition to the single currency. Growing Italian discontent with the European Union could help to make the issue a vote-winner in elections planned for March 4. Despite a widespread economic revival, monetary union remains a political target.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s a sunny spring day and Italians are waking up to a new legislature. None of the country’s political parties has won enough seats in the previous day’s election to safely control parliament, yet each claims victory. The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement earned the largest number of votes, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and its Northern League ally form the biggest political group, while the centre-left Democratic Party secured the most parliamentary seats. A flawed electoral law means a coalition - a regular feature of Italian politics - seems inevitable.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Two Spanish ministries are interfering in Italy-based Atlantia’s 16.5 billion euro takeover bid for local toll-road group Abertis. France and Italy similarly meddled in recent deals within the European Union. Building scale inside the bloc isn’t proving entirely borderless.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Boris Collardi is bowing out of Julius Baer at the peak. The whizzkid of Swiss private banking is leaving the $13 billion group for smaller rival Pictet after eight years in charge. Bold deals and aggressive expansion in Asia boosted earnings and lifted the wealth manager’s shares to record highs. Replicating such achievements will be harder.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - The European Central Bank may have pushed its bad-loan cleanup too fast. The institution proposed stricter rules governing banks’ provisions for non-performing loans but overstepped its authority, the EU parliament’s legal service says, according to Reuters. The ECB is right to target European lenders’ 840 billion euro mountain of bad debt, but its clumsy move may end up slowing down its effort.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Offshore financial secrecy is succumbing to the law of diminishing returns. A new dump of leaked documents, dubbed the Paradise Papers, shows the enduring popularity of opaque structures in low-tax centres such as Bermuda. But regulation that sheds light on such deals is getting tighter, while technology makes leaks more likely.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - UniCredit is getting an early start on its recovery path. A data glitch forced Italy’s biggest bank by assets to publish third-quarter results two weeks ahead of schedule. Fortunately, the figures show lower costs and stronger capital. And a fee-boosting partnership with French asset manager Amundi helped offset the drag from low interest rates.