NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Executive pay often resembles a ratchet, only going in one direction: up. Shareholders of General Electric on Tuesday rebelled. Nearly 58% of them voted against top executives' pay for 2020, including $73 million for boss Larry Culp. It's a rare rebuke, richly deserved.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Isaac Sackler left his three sons close to nothing “apart from their good name”. A new book examines how his descendants repeatedly used harmful tactics to push addictive drugs and build a fortune worth over $10 billion, while largely escaping serious sanction. The only damage to the clan has been to its reputation.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - A halo has spread over America’s Big Pharma. The success of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson in rapidly developing Covid-19 vaccines has buffed the image of an industry more used to life in the crosshairs. The immediate benefit isn’t anything to sniffed at: Pfizer alone estimates $4 billion in associated 2021 profit. But it may pale beside the benefit of having politicians and regulators on their side.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - President Joe Biden wants all Americans to be eligible for a shot by May 1 and for the country to be on a path closer to normal by the July Fourth holiday. He may be too modest. Vaccine production rates and real-time data show things are moving more quickly.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Some companies will need to get used to the global chip drought. Pandemic-led demand swings and trade wars have left factories short of microprocessors. The semiconductor industry’s coming splurge on new capacity will benefit smartphone manufacturers and data centers more than automakers.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Nearly 3 million Texans are without power three days after a cold snap crippled energy sources serving the second largest U.S. state by population. The Lone Star state’s free market policies and desire to avoid oversight bear blame. But California hasn’t fared much better in recent years. Reliable grids are expensive. Forcing voters to pay up for a non-obvious benefit is unpopular for all politicians.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - A three-way bidding war for laser maker Coherent will incinerate value. A $6.4 billion takeover offer from optical component maker II-VI is the U.S. company’s third in a month. Original bidder Lumentum looks outgunned, since II-VI and second bidder MKS Instruments have more strategic fit and can theoretically afford to offer more. But Coherent is already overpriced, and passions are kicking in.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Concise insights on global finance in the Covid-19 era.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Jeff Ubben’s soft touch would be useful at hardened Exxon Mobil. The activist investor, who co-founded ValueAct Capital and now runs Inclusive Capital Partners, may join the board of the $204 billion oil giant according to Bloomberg. With vocal and quieter agitators at Exxon, shareholders could use a diplomat with a long-term focus. Ubben’s experience at investing in firms from Adobe to Microsoft shows he could prove useful.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Biotech firms Moderna and BioNTech used a biotechnology known as messenger RNA, or mRNA, to produce vaccines effective against Covid-19 with miraculous speed. That has pushed the combined worth of specialists in this emerging field to more than $120 billion. That’s a glimpse of what’s possible if it can be applied post-pandemic to treat cancer or rare diseases.