Aug 21, 2014 06:12 UTC

China Mobile’s foreign foray risks meagre returns

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By Ethan Bilby

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

China Mobile is using its cash pile to hunt for growth overseas. If past industry experience is any guide, however, returns could be meagre. Many other mobile operators have failed to create value through cross border tie-ups.

Aug 19, 2014 06:18 UTC

Sinopec petrol sale attracts a motley bunch

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Sinopec’s petrol station stake sale could drum up a mixed bunch. The Chinese oil giant is seeking investors to help develop Sinopec Sales, which operates its vast network of filling stations. Prospective buyers from food retail, energy, technology and private equity have been shortlisted, according to Reuters. But the price tag of around $16 billion for a 30 percent stake could force them to club together.

Aug 18, 2014 18:53 UTC

Dollar store bid battle leaves value on the table

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By Kevin Allison

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

Dollar store mergers, it turns out, don’t come cheap. Dollar General – call it General – on Monday joined the fight for rival U.S. discount retailer Family Dollar with a $9.7 billion cash offer. That topped an earlier agreed acquisition of Family by the smaller Dollar Tree, which as wags have noted could result in a combination called Family Tree. Even above General’s $78.50 a share bid, though, both of Family’s suitors have room to lob in a few more singles.

Aug 15, 2014 18:43 UTC

Coke investment reveals half-empty idea bottle

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By Kevin Allison

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

Coca-Cola’s latest investment reveals its idea bottle to be half empty. The $180 billion soda giant is paying $2.2 billion for 17 percent of Monster Beverage, a maker of trendy energy drinks. It goes to show how even a global powerhouse with significant distribution and marketing advantages can struggle to keep ahead of upstart rivals. At least Coke got the deal formula right.

Aug 15, 2014 06:28 UTC

Alibaba deal spree turns from romance to thriller

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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.

Aug 14, 2014 19:28 UTC

Venezuela digs way to distressed seller status

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By Christopher Swann

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

Venezuela is digging its way to distressed seller status. The country wants to offload Citgo, its U.S. refinery and pipelines unit. It may be worth up to $15 billion, money that’s sorely needed thanks to President Nicolas Maduro’s barmy economic policies. And the drop in value of heavy-oil assets like Citgo owns makes it a bad time to sell.

Aug 13, 2014 11:42 UTC

A French revolution could disrupt U.S. mobile

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By Quentin Webb

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

U.S. mobile is at risk of a French revolution. On July 31, Xavier Niel’s Iliad emerged as a surprise bidder for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile US, the Deutsche Telekom-backed operator. The billionaire is little-known in America, and Deutsche rejected his $15 billion opening gambit. But Iliad is roughly to French telecoms what Ryanair has been to European air travel, or Aldi to retail. If it wins T-Mobile US, market share and margins at AT&T and Verizon could face the guillotine.

Aug 12, 2014 18:34 UTC

Aussie bid battle questions wine’s standalone case

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By Una Galani

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

Wine may age better in the cellar than on the stock market. A bid battle for Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates – the only big listed producer – has called into question the case for standalone wine companies. The maker of Penfolds could be better-managed but a fragmented market and low brand loyalty also suggests the fruit of the vine may not be suitable for public company treatment.

Aug 12, 2014 07:00 UTC

Aircraft leasing flies back into vogue in Asia

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Aircraft leasing is flying back into vogue in Asia. Many Western groups jettisoned the business of buying and renting out planes after the financial crisis. Now China’s sovereign wealth fund and tycoon Li Ka-shing are considering climbing on board. Strong forecast demand for aircraft explains the appeal – as long as finance is cheap and reliable.

Aug 11, 2014 18:47 UTC

Kinder Morgan’s large-number solution: get bigger

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By Christopher Swann

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

Richard Kinder’s master class in financial engineering is back in session. The Kinder Morgan boss struck $71 billion of deals to unite his sprawling U.S. pipeline empire. Various partnerships had reached a scale that was limiting returns. Kinder somehow managed to solve this size quandary by getting bigger.