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from Breakingviews:

Aggressive M&A puts focus on Thai tycoon’s empire

By Una Galani

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

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s appetite for deals has put his sprawling empire in focus. The Thai drinks-to-property tycoon is eyeing more acquisitions on top of the $3.3 billion his companies have spent this year. Investors have already given a poor reception to his most recent deals. A pick’n’mix approach to public markets may explain some of their doubts.

Graphic: Charoen's empire

Shareholders in Singapore’s United Engineers announced on Aug. 27 that they were in exclusive talks with a company controlled by Charoen to sell a stake in the $1.4 billion group. Shares in two Charoen-backed companies, Singaporean property developer Frasers Centrepoint and Bangkok-listed consumer distributor Berli Jucker have fallen more than 10 percent in the past three months since announcing large acquisitions that stretch their balance sheets. The dealmaking adds to concerns over Charoen’s borrowings since he won the $11.2 billion battle for Singaporean conglomerate Fraser & Neave last year.

The tycoon’s empire includes at least 13 publicly-listed companies with a combined market value of more than $30 billion. The biggest by far is Thai Beverage, the maker of Chang Beer. Charoen doesn’t exert control through a single holding company, but scatters his interests across various entities held by himself, his wife, or his children.

from Breakingviews:

Voracious buyers find the meat on Sara Lee’s bones

By Kevin Allison

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

Voracious buyers are finding the meat on Sara Lee’s bones. The old consumer conglomerate broke itself up into meat-focused Hillshire Brands and coffee-roaster D.E Master Blenders 1753 in 2012 after spurning takeover offers worth about $12 billion, according to press reports at the time. It looked like a raw deal - until now.

from Breakingviews:

Li Ka-shing still has what investors want

By Una Galani

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

Li Ka-shing may be an octogenarian but he still knows when to buy and sell. An analysis of 16 listed parts of the Hong Kong tycoon’s telecoms-to-energy empire, with a combined market capitalization of more than $170 billion, shows a mixed record of delivering shareholder returns. Yet Li’s flagship holding companies have matched or beaten the market over the past two and five years. For investors, it pays to invest as close as possible to the man himself.

from Breakingviews:

South Korea’s next leader will face a currency war

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

By Andy Mukherjee

Every new South Korean president has to contend with sabre-rattling by Pyongyang. It won’t be any different this time. North Korea’s recent rocket launch shows just what kind of reception the next occupant of Seoul’s Blue House can expect from across the demilitarized zone.

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