NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Netflix has managed to pull off the double axel of retail. The $145 billion streaming-video company has both the scale of shopping giant Walmart and the pricing power of luxury-jewelry outfit Tiffany. Chief Executive Reed Hastings’ next trick is to work out how to maintain both labels.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Amazon is learning that machines are only as good as the people behind them. The $900 billion e-commerce giant had to shut down a résumé-reviewing computer program early last year after discovering it was prejudiced against women, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Algorithms and artificial intelligence hold promise but are limited by programmers’ own biases.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Dolans are proving they’re better at spinoffs than coaching. The family, which controls the almost $7 billion Madison Square Garden Co, is separating yet another business from its empire. This time it’s cleaving off the New York Knicks and Rangers from the Rockettes. The sports team may win no trophies, but the deal could be a slam dunk for shareholders.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Posing a question for a book title is risky because the reader may not care to know the answer. But high-stakes gambling is in the DNA of the man behind “Who is Michael Ovitz?” Ovitz has been Hollywood super-agent, dealmaker, art collector and short-lived heir apparent to the corner office at Walt Disney. The last of these is one reason to tough out more than 350 pages. His time at the Mouse House serves as a cautionary tale of succession planning gone haywire. More than 20 years later, Disney will soon be seeking another new chief executive.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - California has come up with one possible solution to the male, pale and stale problem afflicting boardrooms. A law passed on Sunday requires public companies with headquarters in the Golden State to have at least one woman on their boards from next year. Tougher quotas in Norway have not obviously trickled down to broader groups. But board balance is a valid goal in itself.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Instagram is Facebook’s golden goose – and it runs a real risk of being smothered. The departure of the photo-sharing app’s founders after six years as part of Mark Zuckerberg’s social network isn’t worrying on its own. But Instagram could suffer if too closely identified with its parent, and right now its growth is one of the $480 billion Facebook’s best features.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s been a year of media madness. Comcast’s $40 billion lurch for Sky set a new standard for excess. Walt Disney too paid an extravagant sum for parts of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, including a stake in the UK pay-TV group. Selling it would allow CEO Bob Iger to reduce the Magic Kingdom’s debt or add firepower to battle streaming rivals like Netflix.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Two twisted sagas playing out at CBS have come to a neat ending. Longtime CBS boss Les Moonves has stepped down after fresh allegations of sexual assault – while at the same time, a truce between controlling owner Shari Redstone and the $21 billion media firm has ushered in some new checks and balances. A much-needed spell of normality is within the company’s reach.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The feud between President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump over steel tariffs threatens to turn other emerging markets cold. Breakingviews columnists discuss the global impact of Turkey’s currency meltdown. Plus: A bad bank in China gets whacked by political risk.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - CEO Elon Musk’s tweet about wanting to take the company private is causing a stir. Unorthodoxy aside, its volatile boss and weak corporate governance means Tesla is better off the public roads. Plus, Pakistan’s likely new leader Imran Khan will have to go hat in hand to the IMF.