Breakingviews

China’s Agile Property only the worst of the best

October 13, 2014

The developer needs urgent assistance after its chairman was detained and a rights issue pulled. House prices are slumping. Yet despite these problems, Agile is one of the few property groups with some access to capital markets. The sector’s gravest dangers lie further from view.

Blackstone sale may kick off next deal trend

October 10, 2014

Spinning off its advisory arm marks an end to the buyout firm’s beginning. Merging it with ex-Morgan Stanley banker Paul Taubman’s shop potentially heralds the start of something else. The rise in global M&A could spawn a super-boutique or entice a big bank to buy an indie firm.

Tianhe investors sell first, ask questions later

October 9, 2014

Shares in the Chinese chemical group plunged as much as 45 percent when they resumed trading after anonymous fraud allegations. Despite the company’s rebuttal, some mud has stuck. Existing shareholders may have to reach into their pockets to restore confidence.

Jumbo $6 bln bank IPO shows Saudi too big to miss

October 7, 2014

The sale of shares in the kingdom’s top bank will be the largest this year after Alibaba. A few foreign investors may share some of the upside. For most, it’s a reminder of the opportunities on offer when the $584 bln market opens more fully to outsiders next year.

Meg Whitman at last splits Hewlett from Packard

October 6, 2014

The venerable tech conglomerate will cleave in two: a computer and printer business and a corporate hardware and services arm. Investors had baked in a breakup for ages, so there was only so much longer CEO Whitman could dawdle before losing control of HP’s narrative.

Sears’ Canada stake sale merits a discount

October 3, 2014

Hedge fund boss Eddie Lampert’s struggling retailer wants to raise cash ahead of the holidays by selling a stake in its Canadian arm via a slimly discounted rights issue. If all goes to plan, Sears hopes to conjure up $380 mln. The market’s reaction suggests that’s optimistic.

Coke challenge goes beyond revising pay plan

October 3, 2014

The beverage giant has backed off its controversial executive compensation scheme. That’s a win for Warren Buffett, investor David Winters and the company’s other shareholders. But the quibbles with Coke don’t end with excessive pay. Costs loom as the next activist target.

Goldman’s new conflict rules raise bigger question

October 1, 2014

Bankers there face fresh limits on investing in stocks, bonds and hedge funds. Goldman knows how easy it is to cross a line when treading close to it. Why Wall Street dealmakers can own individual securities at all is the real mystery that speaks to a culture loath to change.

Tax clampdown could deter half-baked pharma M&A

September 23, 2014

The U.S. attack on companies relocating to avoid taxes will calm pharma’s M&A binge. Deals like AbbVie’s purchase of Shire may survive on strategic logic. Pure tax-driven combinations, like Mylan/Abbott, look tricky. That lessens AstraZeneca’s vulnerability to a bid from Pfizer.

Alibaba IPO highlights SoftBank’s value dilemma

September 22, 2014

Following the Chinese e-commerce group’s listing, the Japanese conglomerate’s 32 pct stake is worth $75 bln. It eclipses the value of SoftBank’s core businesses. The near-5 pct drop in SoftBank’s shares after the IPO is a reminder the investment is both blessing and burden.