LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Muddy Waters shorted stocks like health provider NMC and forest plantation group Sino-Forest, aiding their collapse. But founder Carson Block tells Dasha Afanasieva he almost quit due to the stress of facing a criminal investigation. For him, politics may be an alternative path.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Consumer giants have reached peak “premiumisation”. Big producers of beer, cosmetics, even laundry liquid, have managed to grow in recent years by charging consumers more for fancier versions of everyday items. This has worked so far, but lower incomes in the post-pandemic recession will force groups like Unilever and Heineken to focus on volume while competing on price.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - G4S’s long-suffering shareholders’ luck has changed. The UK security group has gone from making headlines for running chaotic prisons or defrauding taxpayers to being the subject of a fierce bidding war between transatlantic rivals GardaWorld and Allied Universal. While the latter has now won the board’s backing for its 3.8 billion pound offer, the fight probably has more rounds to go.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ethical investing has become the battlefield in a dispute between Hershey and cocoa-producing countries. Ghana and Ivory Coast have accused the Reese’s maker of dodging payments designed to alleviate farmer poverty and have shut off access to cocoa certified as sustainable from their countries. The move may make it harder for the $31 billion group to flaunt its environmental, social and governance credentials.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - GardaWorld has left the door open for G4S to escape its hostile bid. The Canadian security company raised its offer for the London-listed peer to 3.7 billion pounds on Wednesday, having argued much less was fair just two days earlier. The new price is not a knockout, giving investors reason to hold out for more.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Turkey’s new central bank governor has made an excellent start. Within two weeks of taking office, Naci Agbal has raised interest rates by the most in more than two years, promised to keep bearing down on inflation, and improved transparency by reducing the number of policy rates that matter. This will be music to international investors’ ears.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Russia’s nascent e-commerce market is growing up fast. Online retailer Ozon’s upcoming listing in New York, valuing it at as much as $5.6 billion, is the biggest market debut by a Russian company in years. Its home market’s vast size will be both a help and a hindrance in getting it to profitability.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Investment banking may seem glamorous from the outside, but the mundane reality of spreadsheets and presentation slides is tough to dramatise. “Industry”, a new series from the BBC and HBO, has had a go. It follows a class of fresh graduates navigating Pierpont & Co, a fictional investment bank in London. Though the show fails to make finance gripping, it accurately reflects how little the industry has kept up with the changing world of work.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Reebok Classics are not a good fit for Adidas. Buyout firms are interested in buying the underperforming brand, best known for 80s trainer styles, the Financial Times reported. For an acquirer to make a private equity-style return, however, the German sportswear group will need to accept a much lower price than the $3.8 billion it paid in 2005.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Companies like Nestlé and Unilever are grappling with a Covid-19 recession and potentially drastic changes in how people shop and what they buy. Kristina Rogers, global consumer leader at consultancy EY, joins Dasha Afanasieva to discuss which trends will stick.