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from Breakingviews:

Alibaba IPO highlights SoftBank’s value dilemma

By Una Galani

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

Alibaba’s runaway initial public offering has turned the spotlight back onto SoftBank’s valuation dilemma. Following the Chinese e-commerce group’s successful New York listing, the Japanese conglomerate’s 32 percent stake eclipses the value of its other businesses. The 5 percent drop in SoftBank’s shares on the morning of Sept. 22 is a reminder the investment is both blessing and burden.

SoftBank’s $20 million investment in Alibaba back in 2000 probably ranks as one of the greatest ever. Based on Alibaba’s first-day closing share price of $93.89, the stake is valued at almost $75 billion. SoftBank could not sell at that price even if it wanted to. But even after applying a 20 percent discount, the shareholding is now probably worth about $60 billion.

The company run by Masayoshi Son has stakes in other large listed entities too. The most significant are U.S. mobile carrier Sprint, internet portal Yahoo Japan and online games maker GungHo Online Entertainment. The market value of these shareholdings – all of which SoftBank controls - adds up to around $35 billion. Combined with Alibaba, SoftBank’s four main publicly traded investments exceed the Japanese group’s $92 billion market capitalisation.

from Counterparties:

MORNING BID – The Forty Thieves Await

Reading the tea leaves on what’s likely to happen with the debut of Alibaba Group Holdings isn’t an easy task given a few of the weird quirks of this IPO that come into play. Shares will start trading in an hour or so after the open of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, and while it’s tempting to think the various wrinkles that come with the stock will prevent it from being as volatile as first-day activity is in hot deals, it’s hard to see how it doesn’t turn out any other way than the usual crazy way.

The company has made a show of saying it wants most of the shares to end up allocated to the fewest of large shareholders possible – the big active managers (since index funds can’t get in there just yet) and sovereign wealth funds that see this as a long-term play to appreciate over a period of time. Fund managers are in the midst of finding out how well they did (and with about 40 institutions requesting $1 billion allocations on a $22 billion deal, a lot of people are going to walk away from the table hungry), and the dynamic it creates after the open is sure to create a lot of activity.

from Breakingviews:

Bayer’s plastic float sows seeds for one more sale

By Quentin Webb

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

Bayer’s plastic float could sow the seeds for another sale. Investors added more than $5 billion to the German blue-chip’s $114 billion market capitalisation on Sept. 18, after it unveiled plans to float MaterialScience, its capital-intensive plastics and polymers business. Once again, investors are rewarding a company for adopting a sharper focus. A logical follow-up for Bayer Chief Executive Marijn Dekkers would be to quit agrochemicals and create a pure healthcare business.

from Breakingviews:

Alibaba’s small IPO hike leaves room for believers

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Pricing initial public offerings is an inexact science. Predicting how investors will value a large, fast-growing Chinese e-commerce group involves even more guesswork. That makes Alibaba’s decision to lift the maximum price for its upcoming stock market debut by just $2 a share to $68 puzzling.

from Breakingviews:

RBS puts lipstick on Citizens for $14 bln IPO

By Antony Currie

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

Royal Bank of Scotland is applying a fair amount of lipstick to its U.S. unit ahead of a planned initial public offering. Citizens Financial is worth up to $14 billion, based on the price range of $23 to $25 a share set on Sept. 8. Like the leaders of its home nation, RBS is painting too pretty a picture of life after independence.

from Breakingviews:

E-book: Alibaba and the twelve digits

By Breakingviews columnists

The authors are Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

 

China’s e-commerce colossus is hitting the road for a $100-billion-plus IPO. But a spectacular growth story comes with quirks, including bizarre governance and founder Jack Ma’s penchant for offbeat deals. Breakingviews offers a punchy primer on the risks and rewards.

Read the e-book online (English)

Download the PDF (English)

Download the PDF (Chinese)

from Breakingviews:

Six steps to Alibaba’s twelve-figure valuation

By Peter Thal Larsen 

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

How do you value a tech company? What about a dominant, fast-growing, profitable tech company with no peers that operates in an opaque economy? Fund managers need to decide as Alibaba kicks off the roadshow for its long-awaited initial public offering. Breakingviews offers a six-step guide to sizing up China’s biggest e-commerce group.

from Breakingviews:

Alibaba deal spree turns from romance to thriller

By John Foley 

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

Alibaba’s investment story has turned from romance to thriller. Its Hong Kong movie-making affiliate has uncovered “possibly non-compliant” accounting just four months after the Chinese e-commerce giant bought a 60 percent stake. It’s not clear whether Alibaba’s controls were flawed – but it certainly raises questions about the value of the company’s recent investment binge.

from Breakingviews:

IPO exuberance ensnares Deutsche, Wells Fargo

By Robert Cyran

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

IPO exuberance has ensnared Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo. The two banks nixed a biotech deal last week - six days after it started trading. Their reasoning looks defensible, but their due diligence beforehand less so.

from Breakingviews:

Alibaba payments cleanup makes for neater IPO

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Alibaba just can’t stop tinkering with its corporate structure. Weeks before the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut is due to start a roadshow for an initial public offering, it has tidied up relations with its payments affiliate. Though the new arrangement is still messier than shareholders might want, it should make for a neater IPO.

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