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Breakingviews

Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time. Sign up for a free trial of our full service at http://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.

Breakingviews - Comcast overreaches for Sky with $40 bln knockout

Comcast has overreached in its pursuit of Sky. The U.S. cable giant prevailed over Twenty-First Century Fox on Saturday, winning a dramatic one-day auction with an offer that values the UK broadcaster at 30.6 billion pounds ($40 billion). For Chief Executive Brian Roberts, it’s a huge bet on overseas growth for a company that cannot get much larger at home.

Breakingviews - Jefferies faces half-a-million-dollar question

Jefferies has a half-a-million-dollar question to answer. That’s the average compensation for employees at the Wall Street firm, based on results for the first nine months of its financial year released on Friday. It’s 25 percent more than Goldman Sachs shells out. Jefferies also hands staff more of its revenue yet has paltry returns. After a restructuring of its $7.7 billion listed parent, the gap is more prominent and unsustainable.

Breakingviews - $100 bln weed company is still in the pipe

Cannabis is making cryptocurrencies look lethargic. Share prices of listed producers have rocketed, in some cases faster than bitcoin did last year. Brendan Kennedy, the chief executive of Tilray, which made $21 million of revenue last year, believes his company could be worth $100 billion. He’s half right: a weed producer could get that big. The odds are against it being Tilray.

Breakingviews - Banks were first to fall in decade of lost trust

Banks were the first institutions to fall in a decade of lost trust. The crisis that reached its climax with the failure of Lehman Brothers a decade ago swept away the notion that financial leaders could be relied upon to safely run their firms. Since then central bankers, politicians and the media have also faced growing public scepticism. The malaise shows no sign of lifting.

Breakingviews - Trump tariffs fallout hints at protracted battle

The fallout from American tariffs is hinting at a prolonged trade war. As U.S. companies brace for taxes on another $200 billion of Chinese exports, many say they’re now considering leaving the People’s Republic. That has Beijing wondering if such an exodus is as much a policy aim as the stated motive of intellectual property theft.

Breakingviews - Merrill Lynch deal a qualified success for BofA

Buying Merrill Lynch has been a qualified success for Bank of America. The $310 billion mega-lender bought the Thundering Herd essentially over a weekend in the depths of the 2008 crisis for $50 billion. Merrill’s retail brokerage has worked out well. But the M&A and equity franchises, which are about to get a new boss, have faded under the BofA brand.

Breakingviews - Robocall infestation demands robot solution

A robocall infestation may demand a robot solution. Scam calls could make up nearly half U.S. traffic next year, data from call control outfit First Orion suggests, up from under 4 percent last year. Society bears the costs in wasted time and swindles.

Breakingviews - Aston Martin IPO makes more sense in middle lane

Aston Martin should lose the go-faster stripes. The UK high-end carmaker’s pricing range for its October market debut, released on Thursday, implies a maximum equity price tag of 5.1 billion pounds. While the manufacturer of James Bond cars has a luxury brand, it’s not yet totally suited to the fastest lane.

Breakingviews - Meituan IPO shows how to tempt investor appetites

Meituan Dianping's solid debut offers a recipe for its peers. Shares in the Chinese takeaway-to-taxi group rose as much as 7 percent in their Hong Kong debut on Thursday, taking its value to some $56 billion. That's respectable, after handset-maker Xiaomi’s fumbled start in July. Its sober expectations and big-name cornerstone investors helped restore appetites.