The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice.

― Bertrand Russell

  • Eni’s ‘Italian Thatcher’ May Face Down Unions to Shut Plants (Bloomberg): Leading Italy’s largest energy company during a period of over-capacity and retrenchment would be a tall order for any executive, but Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi appears to be up to the challenge.  If Descalzi is able to face down both union and government opposition in order to rationalize an outdated cost structure, it would be a noteworthy success and a signal that business as usual is over in Italy.
  • BDCs Pin Hopes For 2015 On Looser Investment Rules (Forbes): Business Development companies are eagerly awaiting rule changes that would permit an increase in leverage (from the current 1:1 debt to equity ratio to an anticipated 2:1) and a loosening of restrictions on permissible investments.
  • Creditor Conflict and the Efficiency of Corporate Reorganization (Harvard Law School Bankruptcy Roundtable): The efficiency of markets often breaks down on close examination, and this is nowhere more true than in situations of corporate distress.  A new paper examines the phenomenon of inefficient liquidations through the lens of the differing motivations of senior and subordinated lenders.
  • Has S&P Been Exaggerating Local Governments’ Stability? (Governing): Recent changes to the credit rating methodology S&P uses for municipal issuers has raised the specter of increased rating shopping.
  • How a Family-Owned Firm Can Beat the Odds and Pivot (Entrepreneur): Family-owned firms often have difficulty making the necessary changes to engineer a turnaround.  The lessons of Palo Alto Software CEO Sabrina Parsons, gleaned from her own turnaround experience, showcase the fact that those difficulties can be overcome.