Apr 25, 2014 14:54 UTC

Alstom split would energise business units

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Ending the days of Alstom as an unwieldy conglomerate would end many of its headaches. Given time, the group could probably take care of its problems on its own. Outside help would allow it to speed up the recovery. And General Electric could be a powerful catalyst for the transformation.

Apr 17, 2014 06:02 UTC

Asia push to in-house M&A forces advisers to adapt

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By Una Galani

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

Asian acquirers are taking their own advice when it comes to mergers and acquisitions – and global investment banks may have to adapt. From Singaporean sovereign investor Temasek to China’s CITIC, Asian companies are increasingly relying on internal talent to get deals done. The loss of business in an already tough market means big investment banks will have to work harder to prove their worth.

International banks have had a minimal role in two recent mega-deals. Temasek used its own mergers-and-acquisitions team to buy a 24.95 percent stake in AS Watson, the retail business of Li Ka-Shing’s Hutchison Whampoa, in March. Hong Kong-listed CITIC Pacific has named only its own subsidiary, and a related outfit, as advisers on its $36.5 billion acquisition of assets from its parent. Morgan Stanley worked on the deal, say people familiar with the situation, but isn’t mentioned in public documents.

Apr 11, 2014 19:17 UTC

Comcast’s $45 bln deal warrants some utility logic

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Imagine Comcast’s $45 billion plan to buy Time Warner Cable gets the utility treatment. It isn’t a big stretch these days to liken the pipes that bring the internet into homes to those carrying water or electricity. When power companies and the like merge, though, regulators want consumers to share the spoils.

Apr 8, 2014 06:02 UTC

Modi win is blow for Tesco, good for investors

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By Andy Mukherjee 

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

A win for Narendra Modi would be bad news for Tesco and its rivals, but good news for other investors. The Indian opposition leader’s party says it won’t allow foreign supermarkets to enter the country if it wins the general election. But that is just one discordant note in a manifesto that is sweet music to financial markets.

Apr 7, 2014 16:05 UTC

Ranbaxy sale shows risk in Japanese M&A adventures

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Daiichi Sankyo has just reminded corporate Japan of the dangers of overseas adventures. The drugmaker is handing control of its ailing Indian affiliate Ranbaxy to local rival Sun Pharmaceutical in a $3.2 billion deal. The investment has lost almost 40 percent of its value in six years.

Apr 4, 2014 05:43 UTC

China stock market opening is opposite of Big Bang

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

China’s approach to opening up its stock market is the opposite of a Big Bang. Investors are once again getting excited about the prospect of mainland shareholders being allowed to buy Hong Kong stocks. But such hopes have proved premature before. As with any loosening of China’s capital controls, progress is bound to be gradual.

Apr 3, 2014 06:20 UTC

Alibaba shopping spree needs better explanation

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By Robyn Mak

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

Alibaba’s shopping spree needs better explanation. The Chinese e-commerce giant has spent $3.8 billion on acquisitions and investments since 2013. The land grab may excite prospective investors ahead of its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO). But Alibaba will eventually have to justify its purchases.

Apr 2, 2014 07:26 UTC

Noble China joint venture still faces market test

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By Una Galani

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

Noble Group’s joint venture with China still faces a test from market forces. The Singapore trader is selling 51 percent of its agricultural business to a consortium led by state-backed COFCO for around $1.5 billion. China’s desire to control its food supply should guarantee volumes for the joint venture. But it’s less clear that will translate into healthy margins.

The precise size of the COFCO’s investment depends on how the unit, which processes everything from grains to coffee, performs over the next nine months. The final price will be equivalent of 1.15 times its book value in 2014. The headline price implies a valuation of $2.94 billion for the business, which accounted for 16 percent of Noble’s revenue last year.

Apr 1, 2014 06:29 UTC

OCBC’s Chinese ambition comes with hefty price tag

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp is paying a hefty price to expand in the People’s Republic. The Singaporean group is realising a long-held ambition by splashing out almost $5 billion for Hong Kong’s Wing Hang bank. But the deal looks expensive at a time when growth on the mainland is slowing and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering is threatening to push up deposit costs.

Mar 28, 2014 18:20 UTC

Boards’ defender-in-chief keeps fighting last war

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By Reynolds Holding

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

Corporate boards’ defender-in-chief keeps fighting the last war. Lawyer Marty Lipton proved again at the New Orleans M&A confab that he can give as good as he gets. But prior panelists’ emphasis on improving governance and shareholder value made his swipes at activists seem dated. The legal lion’s roars are sounding more stubborn than persuasive.