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United States

Fiona Maharg-Bravo

Sky shareholders are close to maximum altitude

Dec 15 2016

MADRID (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sky’s shareholders can’t fly much higher. Some of the UK pay-TV group’s investors are grumbling that independent directors gave in too quickly to an opportunistic bid from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox. But the market had previously given Sky the thumbs-down, and the premium looks generous. A small sweetener is the best investors can hope for.

Exxon's new boss will confront the end of empire

Dec 14 2016

CHICAGO/MADRID (Reuters Breakingviews) - Exxon Mobil's next chief executive will confront a weakened empire in 2017. With current boss Rex Tillerson selected as Donald Trump's secretary of state, likely successor Darren Woods will take charge of the $380 billion oil giant amid still-weak prices and falling reserves.

The Murdochs' new reach for Sky is well timed

Dec 09 2016

NEW YORK/MADRID (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Murdochs are having another shot at Sky. Twenty-First Century Fox has offered to buy the 61 percent of the European pay-TV group it doesn't own. The proposal notionally values Sky at 18.5 billion pounds, though only about 11.3 billion pounds would change hands. Circumstances look a lot more auspicious than the last time Rupert Murdoch and his family tried to consolidate the business in 2010.

Spanish government begins to make up for lost time

Oct 24 2016

The country's Socialist Party will allow acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy a second term, ending 10 months of political deadlock. His minority administration will now begin arduous tasks like cutting the budget deficit as the economy slows. A fractured parliament won't help.

Tech giants don’t grow on European soil

Sep 16 2016

The region hasn't produced its own answers to tech disruptors like Facebook and Alibaba. That leaves the EU open to accusations of sour grapes when foreign companies like Apple are targeted for unpaid taxes. Regulation and fragmented markets explain Europe's failure to launch.

EU offers vitamin pill to dying media patient

Aug 26 2016

Brussels wants to give media the right to seek compensation from search engines like Google that use online content. The intention is laudable - some publishers may be losing out. But the proposal has similarities with schemes in Germany and Spain - which haven’t worked.

Spanish politicians leave demographic bomb ticking

May 31 2016

While economic activity has picked up, the Spanish population is ageing faster than the EU average. Consensus and long-term planning are needed to tackle the burden this will place on the welfare system and growth prospects. The current polarisation in politics stands in the way.

Brussels O2 veto cements BT’s home advantage

May 11 2016

The EU’s anti-trust tsar has rejected CK Hutchison’s 10.3 billion pound takeover of O2, because it says it would raise mobile prices. That leaves several UK players figuring out next steps. In an industry moving towards packages of mobile, landline, broadband and TV, the winner is the beefed-up BT.

Vodafone and Liberty get square peg in round hole

Feb 16 2016

A Dutch venture between the UK mobile giant and John Malone’s cable group looks almost too neat. Valuations match perfectly, management will be shared. Vodafone probably sacrificed a bit of value, but with 3.5 bln euros in synergies, it works for both.

Spain at risk of a lost year

Feb 05 2016

The country’s political parties still haven’t formed a government seven weeks after an inconclusive election. In the short term, it’s unlikely to have a big impact on the economy. But a prolonged stalemate could hurt confidence and sap momentum, as well as deter corporate deals.

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