Breakingviews

Li Ka-shing dual listing plan more than cosmetic

March 4, 2014

The tycoon wants to list his A.S. Watson unit in London or Singapore as well as Hong Kong. For most companies the attractions of multiple listings are skin deep. But if the health and beauty retailer can claw its way into several benchmark indices, it could prove an exception.

Macau casino stocks are priced for perfection

February 28, 2014

A building boom will expand capacity in China’s gambling enclave. But to justify their valuations, casinos not only need to attract more punters but encourage them to spend more at the tables. Any slowdown in visitor numbers or increased competition could test excited multiples.

Investors take note: low inflation isn’t deflation

February 27, 2014

The theory says that bonds benefit and stocks suffer during deflation. In the real world, disinflation has yet to turn into persistent price declines. Sluggish price rises are no bar to equities doing quite well, as long as there is GDP growth. It’s too early to write off stocks.

AB InBev deserves premium-strength rating

February 26, 2014

The Budweiser brewer seems to pump as much cash as beer out of the business. Latest results suggest its key markets may be improving too. Its well-oiled M&A machinery may flatter the underlying long-term reality. But it is hard to see why investors’ taste for the stock will wane.

Facebook stock is not so different from bitcoin

February 24, 2014

Both are currencies that can be used for certain purposes, but not everything. They depend on networks of people but are not backed by a government. And their worth reflects demand, which is based on murky fundamentals. The trick is to monetize them while they still have value.

Modern financial arts get special exhibition

February 21, 2014

Washington’s Corcoran Gallery, with its de Koonings and Twomblys, is being carved up like a common conglomerate. Los Angeles hosted a hostile museum takeover bid and artwork features in Detroit’s restructuring. A blank spreadsheet can sometimes inspire as much as a canvas.

Spain’s BBVA keeps banking’s tech enemies close

February 21, 2014

The lender believes Google and its ilk will wreak havoc on traditional banking. To defend itself, BBVA has paid $117 million for Simple, a U.S. mobile banking company. The deal increases the possibility that banking’s technological disruption will come from inside.

Italy needs fewer bad banks – not a big new one

February 21, 2014

Italian banks need to shed their bad debts to start lending again. But selling poor credits to a national “bad bank” would require likely Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to pump in capital Italy doesn’t have. A mix of bank resolutions and private-sector opportunism is a better cure.

Privatisations a bright spot for gloomy Aussie M&A

February 13, 2014

Australia is set for a bumper year of asset sales as cash-constrained local governments flog existing infrastructure to fund new projects. Federal disposals may further boost volumes. That’s a welcome diversion for investment bankers facing another slow year for deals Down Under.

Alibaba’s $1.6 bln map deal fuels online land grab

February 11, 2014

The Chinese group offered a 39 percent premium for the 72 percent of online mapper AutoNavi it doesn’t already own. There’s strategic logic, but the real motive may be keeping up with rivals Baidu and Tencent. Location-based services are hot, but profits are hard to pinpoint.