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Breakingviews - Instagram is becoming Facebook’s sugar daddy

Instagram is becoming Facebook’s sugar daddy. The $521 billion social network’s image-sharing unit is a big reason for the company’s strong first-quarter top-line growth. There’s room to wedge more revenue-earning ads into users’ feeds. The risk, though, is the distractions and dodgy content that hamper the “old” Facebook spread to Instagram.

Breakingviews - How to pick the next Bank of England chief

Britain is on the hunt for a top-notch economist, with the skills of a diplomat and the hide of a rhino. The successor to Mark Carney, who steps down as Bank of England governor next year, will have to navigate the economic and political minefields of Brexit. Breakingviews’ interactive yardstick helps sift through the potential runners and riders.

Breakingviews - China’s game makers face a shapeshifting boss

China’s video-game industry needs a predictable boss. After a freeze on approvals for most of last year, officials last week issued new guidelines for applications that point to a future of fewer titles and blander content. That should prove a manageable outcome for the $475 billion Tencent, backer of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, as well as the $35 billion NetEase. Yet the whims of a revamped regulator finding its feet mean the industry still deserves a disc

Breakingviews - Holding: Comic sues, but joke’s on copyright law

Did you hear the one about the comedy writer who’s suing U.S. talk-show host Conan O’Brien for allegedly stealing his jokes? It’s the latest case of creative types – from UK band Radiohead to software giant Oracle – using copyright protections to block others from building on their clever but often derivative ideas. Overly strict laws that stifle innovation are no laughing matter.

Breakingviews - The Exchange: Marco Polo 2.0

Italy irked the United States by backing Beijing’s grand infrastructure plan. The country needs to improve ties with the People’s Republic to sell more wine and other exports, says Rome’s top China expert. Overcoming trade barriers will, however, require an EU team effort.

Breakingviews - Thomas Cook survival relies on risky breakup

Thomas Cook’s best case may be a risky breakup. The struggling tour operator’s shares jumped around 16 percent on reports of a bid by Chinese group Fosun International or private equity firms KKR and EQT Partners. Either could involve selling off its airline, a tricky move that may leave an even weaker core business.

Breakingviews - China's wannabe Starbucks brews a muddy IPO

China's Starbucks wannabe is in an unseemly rush to deliver a New York listing. Luckin Coffee's draft prospectus argues, unconvincingly, that its fair value doubled in three months; an April funding round puts the company’s worth even higher, at a frothy near-$3 billion. Even with a rapidly-expanding chain of cheap outlets, it is still losing more than it rings up in cappuccinos. Add an unnecessarily complex corporate structure, and founder Qian Zhiya’s offer

Breakingviews - Elon Musk looks guilty of distracted driving

Elon Musk is looking guilty of tweeting while driving – or some other distraction. Tesla’s chief executive is talking up autonomous vehicles, days after the company offered shareholders more say and said it was going to cull the board. The problem is, the $46 billion electric-car maker has more pressing concerns.

Breakingviews - Saudi Arabia will feel Trump’s Iran slap too

Donald Trump is calling in a favour. In November, the American president publicly exonerated Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, over his alleged role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. Five months on, Trump’s quid pro quo for MbS - to help him mitigate the effect on oil prices of stymieing Iran via tough sanctions – looks clear-cut.

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