Jul 19, 2013 03:21 UTC

Baidu deal shows pain of being China tech upstart

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By Robyn Mak

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

Baidu’s offer to buy China’s biggest home grown mobile app store operator for $1.9 billion is a cautionary tale for smaller tech firms. NetDragon, the majority owner of 91 Wireless, agreed to sell its trophy asset to the search engine giant. The seller’s shares plunged by almost a quarter. As competition between Chinese tech giants intensifies, upstarts must choose: compete or get out of the way.

Jul 12, 2013 14:19 UTC

Schneider has powerful chance of winning Invensys

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By Quentin Webb

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

Schneider Electric has a powerful chance of snaring Invensys. The French group has tentatively offered 3.3 billion pounds for the British engineer. The pitch has sparked hopes of a bidding war and industrial giants such as ABB, Emerson and GE will surely look. But the “for sale” has hung over Invensys for months – and this is a pretty full price.

Jul 9, 2013 11:48 UTC

“Made in Italy, Owned Elsewhere” will have to do

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By Rob Cox

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

Italian manufacturers have forever been proud to stamp a “Made in Italy” badge on their products. As much as a sign of quality, the boast stood as a mark of cultural and economic independence. But with Italy in the direst shape since World War II, “Made in Italy, Owned Elsewhere” will have to do for many of the nation’s industrialists.

Jul 9, 2013 11:44 UTC

Japan’s dealmakers deflated by Abe’s arrows

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By John Foley

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

Shinzo Abe may yet revive Japan’s economy, but so far he has done the opposite for the country’s chief executives. The volume of overseas mergers this year has been positively lethargic. The prime minister’s efforts to cheapen the yen, and volatile markets, partly explain the lull, but the case for going abroad remains strong.

Jul 1, 2013 14:29 UTC

Nokia gets options with cheap NSN buyout

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By Quentin Webb

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

Nokia has got the better of Siemens. The Finnish mobile-phone company is buying out its German partner from their Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture for a cheap 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion). Nokia gets full ownership of this restructured and profitable telecoms-equipment business, while reducing its reliance on handsets. The purchase could also open the way to future deal-making.

Jun 19, 2013 07:32 UTC

China milk deal leaves small investors whey-faced

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By John Foley

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

Small shareholders in Chinese companies have a new reason to be whey-faced. Big investors in Hong Kong-listed Yashili have agreed to sell out to Chinese dairy giant Mengniu for HK$3.50 a share – a fifth below the price at which the milk powder maker floated just three years ago.

Jun 17, 2013 21:11 UTC

AT&T is all dressed up with nowhere to go

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By Robert Cyran

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

AT&T is all dressed up with nowhere to go. The telecom company had a $93 billion bid for Telefonica blocked by Madrid, according to a Spanish newspaper. The target has denied that it received any expression of interest. But the report is a sign of the problem AT&T faces: it has a lofty stock multiple, which makes M&A tempting, but it seems shut out of both domestic and foreign deals.

Jun 11, 2013 09:16 UTC

SoftBank’s bump for Sprint isn’t a knock-out

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

SoftBank’s raised bid for Sprint Nextel is no knock-out blow. The Japanese group has tweaked its offer for a controlling stake in the U.S. telco to give the target’s shareholders more value. But Sprint shareholders would retain a stake in a Sprint that has more debt than first envisaged. That erodes SoftBank’s key advantage as it seeks to combat a rival bid from leveraged counterbidder Dish Network.

Jun 5, 2013 08:12 UTC

Asian tycoons give LBOs an eastern twist

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Asia’s tycoons are taking a page from the leveraged buyout manual. Shuanghui’s$4.7 billion takeover of U.S. pork producer Smithfield, like recent deals in Thailand and Singapore, combines hefty leverage with limited synergies.

Jun 4, 2013 21:36 UTC

Could UBS resurrect partnership investment banking?

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Goldman Sachs’s initial public offering in 1999 seemed to hammer a nail in the coffin for the partnership model in investment banking. Now activist investment firm Knight Vinke is suggesting that UBS might adopt something like a partnership structure as part of its plan to split wealth management from investment banking. The breakup idea is overambitious today. Only with time, luck and possibly more capital, could an employee-owned UBS investment bank be made to work.