MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” has a calm aura that makes it an ageless Italian masterpiece. The sale process for Borsa Italiana, dubbed “Project Botticelli”, lacks any such Renaissance elegance. By openly favouring Euronext’s bid for the Milan exchange, the Italian government has enabled the French group to secure exclusive talks despite submitting an apparent lowball offer.
ZURICH (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bernard Arnault is having regrets about his $16 billion jewellery purchase. But the French tycoon’s attempt to haggle down the pre-pandemic price his LVMH negotiated for Tiffany could backfire. The luxury giant on Wednesday delayed completing its takeover of the U.S. group, blaming iffy French concerns about a trade war with America. Even if Arnault succeeds in getting a lower price, his tactics risk alienating future targets.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - An attractive European exchange asset may be coming to the market. London Stock Exchange Group said on Friday that it might sell Borsa Italiana or the unit’s stake in the MTS bond trading platform to win European Union approval of its $27 billion bid for data provider Refinitiv. Rivals Euronext and Deutsche Boerse are likely bidders. But they risk a messy three-way tussle.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - The European Union has moved on from its messy handling of the euro zone debt crisis. After intense talks, the bloc’s leaders agreed at dawn on Tuesday on a 750 billion euro stimulus plan backed by common funds to help countries fight the economic impact of the pandemic. Despite some concessions, the plan looks workable and creates positive incentives for reforms.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Is Stellantis a new cocktail, a lost city, a painkiller or the easyJet founder? Nope – it’s the new name for the entity that will emerge from the combination of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Peugeot’s owner PSA. They’re clearly seeking to add futuristic sparkle to their plan to create the world’s fourth-biggest carmaker. But actions matter more than words - even newly conjured ones.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Benetton family has driven into a dead end. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has rejected the Italian sweater-to-motorway clan’s offer to end a two-year long dispute prompted by the fatal collapse of a bridge managed by infrastructure group Atlantia. That leaves the 10 billion euro company with the unpalatable choice of either giving up its key motorway unit or risking the loss of its concession.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Leonardo Del Vecchio’s late swoop on a key nexus of Italian finance is adding a thrilling chapter to his long career. After becoming the largest investor in Mediobanca last year, the restless 85-year-old Ray-Ban mogul now wants to double his 10% shareholding. That could unlock the door to controlling 22 billion euro insurer Assicurazioni Generali. Yet Del Vecchio’s goals remain a riddle.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - The coronavirus may have done what euro zone crisis could not: persuade the European Union to shrug off its bond taboo. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday unveiled a plan to jointly borrow 750 billion euros to help EU states recover from Covid-19. There are obstacles. But the pandemic may help the 27-member union lose its aversion to joint borrowing.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - Cash was already unhygienic before Covid-19. Now in addition to being icky, it’s also irrelevant for many. Quarantined shoppers around the world have ditched grubby bills for more practical contactless purchases. Central banks won’t want to see traditional cash walk the plank altogether, but this may accelerate their consideration of a digital alternative.
MILAN (Reuters Breakingviews) - The race to save the summer holiday is on. Quarantines and travel curbs to contain the pandemic will constrain holidaymakers and hurt the $1.6 trillion tourism industry. With some creative thinking, however, the season could be partly saved.