LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Parisians may be renowned for their fashion sense. Less so Paris-based BNP Paribas and its odd-fitting American retail bank. But BancWest, with around $96 billion of assets, offers something chic to continental Europe’s biggest bank by assets: optionality on the M&A dance floor. Selling it would give Chief Executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafé cash to buy something. And it offers leverage for a merger.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Concise insights on global finance in the Covid-19 era.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Renault Chief Executive Luca de Meo is relying on French élan to boost the Gallic company’s dim prospects. On Thursday he will launch an awkwardly named “Renaulution” to boost earnings. However, any recovery is hampered by lopsided relations with Japanese partner Nissan Motor. Selling part of Renault’s 43% stake in the Japanese carmaker would help smooth an uneven power balance and rev up cost savings.
HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Carpooling is back in vogue, at least for companies. Shares of South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co surged on news of a mooted tie-up with Apple. Details are scarce, but selling high-margin software looks irresistible to low-margin car manufacturers.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Chicago Mafia used to weigh down victims in water by placing them in “cement shoes”. LafargeHolcim shareholders know the feeling: since Switzerland’s Holcim combined with France’s Lafarge in mid-2015 shares have submerged by nearly a third, underperforming rivals Saint Gobain and Sika. An expensive U.S. acquisition may provide a partial rescue.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - A cold start occurs when frosty weather makes car oil too viscous to circulate properly. The UK government faces similar difficulties revving up its motor industry after Brexit. Though it swerved tariffs through a last-gasp trade deal with the European Union, looming export rules on electric vehicles could leave local automakers stuck in second gear.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - American cultural imports are often regarded with froideur in France. Recently, telecoms mogul Xavier Niel and banker Matthieu Pigasse received a warmer reception for their U.S.-style special purpose acquisition company focused on consumer goods. Despite the product’s poor track record in Europe, look for the SPAC craze to infect the continent’s rainmaker class.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - In soccer, sudden death occurs when the result comes down to a single penalty kick. Europe’s professional clubs face a similar nail-biting outcome as mostly empty seats leave them facing financial relegation. To return to health, the beautiful game will have to import an idea from American sports.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Electric-car maker Tesla is worth an eye-popping $540 billion despite a puny 0.8% global market share. It's an opportunity for boss Elon Musk to use the company's hyped-up stock to merge with an old-line business, just as AOL did with media titan Time Warner 20 years ago amid the dot-com bubble. Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler is the best fit.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Growing global demand for food is putting a squeeze on available land and one French startup says it has the answer: indoor insect farming. Ynsect co-founder Antoine Hubert on how growing mealworms for fertilizer will benefit the environment – and eventually our diets too.