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from Breakingviews:

Alibaba finance arm better out than in for IPO

By John Foley

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Alibaba’s secret weapon is its payment division. Yet Alipay isn’t part of the Chinese e-commerce company’s upcoming initial public offering. The company is “conceptually” thinking about reuniting them, according to people familiar with the situation. But the status quo, however strange, looks better.

Founder Jack Ma spirited Alipay, which handles 79 percent of purchases on Alibaba’s sites, into a vehicle he controls in 2011. His reasoning was that regulators planned to introduce tough rules for payment operators with foreign investors. But the rules never materialised.

Rather than put Alipay back, Ma struck a deal. The payment unit pays 49.9 percent of its pre-tax profit to Alibaba and gives it preferential terms on commissions. If Alipay is floated or part-sold later, its former parent gets cash equivalent to 37.5 percent of the unit’s value, up to $6 billion.

from Breakingviews:

Pfizer unlikely to avoid China anti-trust therapy

By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The chance to vet Pfizer’s $106 billion offer for rival drug-maker AstraZeneca looks too good to pass up for China’s competition watchdog. Pfizer should brace for some antitrust therapy, though getting Astra’s board on-side first may help.

from Breakingviews:

Alibaba’s big reveal: high growth, odd governance

By John Foley 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

There are two things to know about Alibaba, which filed for an initial public offering in New York on May 6. First, China’s dominant e-commerce company is huge, and could be even bigger. Second, new investors will have little say in how it is run – the founders are keeping a firm grip.

from Breakingviews:

Muzzling China’s money market mania

By John Foley 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China’s craze for online money market funds is giving savers a taste of financial democracy. That’s a good thing, if China avoids the mistakes that have given these products a bad name elsewhere.

from Breakingviews:

WH Group flop shows pitfalls of crowded IPOs

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

WH Group’s flop shows the pitfalls of overcrowded initial public offerings. The Chinese pork producer hired a record 29 banks but still failed to sell its $1.3 billion listing to investors. That undermines the standard wisdom that more advisers mean less risk for issuers. For banks, it’s a reminder that they can share embarrassment as well as sought-after league table credit.

from Breakingviews:

WH Group’s pulled pork IPO is least bad outcome

By Una Galani
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

This little piggy isn’t going to the market after all. WH Group has scrapped its Hong Kong listing after investors turned their noses up at its valuation. The Chinese pork producer had already more than halved the size of the fundraising to as little as $1.3 billion. A delay which gives the company formerly known as Shuanghui more time to integrate its U.S. subsidiary Smithfield is probably the least bad outcome.

from Breakingviews:

China index: Economy is creeping and crawling

By Katrina Hamlin

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Our index touched 90.7, slightly up from 89.5 a month earlier. But domestic activity still looks sluggish. Rail freight volumes are lower; truck sales are slower; steel production is stalling; and growth in air travel is unusually modest. Dwindling exports offer little support.

from Stories I’d like to see:

Regrouping for Detroit, GM’s bankruptcy evasion and Chinese corporate records

1. Kevyn Orr and a Detroit rebound?

Last Friday, I happened onto a C-Span broadcast of a speech to a national group of bankruptcy lawyers given by Kevyn Orr -- the emergency manager who Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed to take over Detroit’s finances and guide the fallen city through bankruptcy. Since I couldn’t stand watching the Yankees get slaughtered by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, I stopped on the Orr speech for a minute. I stayed 45.

I had never seen Orr speak or paid much attention to Detroit’s troubles and his efforts to dig the city out from under. But if his talk -- riveting, funny, emotional, self-effacing, forceful, fact-filled, wholly convincing and seemingly off the cuff -- is any indication, both Orr and Detroit 2014 are big national stories.

from The Great Debate:

A three-part plan for Obama’s pivot to Asia

President Obama embarked this week on an eight-day trip to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. He has tried to reassure the leaders of those countries that his administration is committed to carrying out its signature foreign policy initiative: the rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific.

Obama entered office with the belief that the U.S. had over-invested in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an October 2011 essay-cum-policy statement, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained that with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the U.S. should “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific. In January 2012, the Department of Defense formalized her recommendation, announcing that the U.S. would “of necessity rebalance” towards the region.

from Breakingviews:

China’s offshore bond boom has further to run

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China’s offshore bond boom has further to run. Companies like Tencent and CNOOC are increasingly turning to international capital markets for financing. Tighter credit on the mainland is a factor - but so is international expansion. Though there are bound to be setbacks, overseas bond issuance should carry on growing.

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