LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Italy’s latest bond fix idea resembles a covert bailout. The economic spokesman of the ruling League Party, Claudio Borghi, says the euro will collapse unless the European Central Bank limits the gap between euro zone countries’ bond yields, and has suggested 150 basis points as a reasonable maximum. The proposal risks giving big spenders free rein to dodge hard budget decisions.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Italy’s deadly bridge disaster will shape the country’s infrastructure fix for better or worse. Shares in toll-road operator Atlantia have fallen as much as 30 percent since the Genoa viaduct collapsed on Tuesday. The tragedy reinforces the case for more investment. But the costs will depend on the government’s treatment of Benetton family-controlled group.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Britain has joined the security party. The UK government on Tuesday outlined how it proposes to screen foreign investment in domestic companies to better fend off security threats. While most of the proposed changes seem reasonable, they increase scope for political meddling.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Dan Loeb is hitting the limits of constructive activism at Nestlé. A year after disclosing he had taken a stake in the Swiss consumer giant, the activist investor has renewed his call to shake up its business and board. Though his ideas make sense, progress has been slow and the stock has lagged. That suggests a more muscular approach is needed.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - A staggered exit from quantitative easing is the most Mario Draghi can do. The European Central Bank said on Thursday it expected to stop adding to its bond portfolio via purchases of sovereign and corporate debt. But the exit is qualified by caveats, and a pledge to keep rates low. Trade wars and a weak euro zone mean the ECB president has little choice but to keep his options open.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Spain can survive its Frankenstein government. A no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has replaced his weak minority administration with one stitched together from a hodgepodge of disparate parties. At least the economy is growing and fresh elections could produce a more stable outcome.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Britain’s costly royal wedding is worth every penny. The marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle on Saturday could leave taxpayers out of pocket by as much as 30 million pounds. But if the transatlantic union lures even a small number of extra American tourists to the United Kingdom, the expense can be easily recouped.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Takeda Pharmaceutical is swallowing a big dose of risk to buy Shire. The Japanese drugmaker finally struck a deal to take control of its Irish peer, for $62 billion. It can just about make the math work, but requires big spending cuts and a load of debt.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Buying stuff is not the standard prescription for companies under pressure from activist investors. Procter & Gamble’s 3.4 billion euro splurge on Merck KGaA’s consumer unit, the maker of Seven Seas vitamin pills, will need a booster shot to earn the support of newly appointed board member Nelson Peltz.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Jeremy Corbyn is playing hardball with a soft Brexit. The Labour Party leader says Britain should stay in a customs union when it leaves the European Union. Though his vision is fuzzy, it may appeal to voters and galvanise a parliamentary challenge to embattled Prime Minister Theresa May. UK political instability looks set to step up a gear.