Apr 23, 2014 05:49 UTC

WH Group’s chopped IPO still looks unappetising

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By Una Galani

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

WH Group’s chopped initial public offering still looks unappetising. The Chinese pork producer is slashing the size of its Hong Kong fundraising to as little as $1.3 billion, down from a previous target of at least $3 billion. But WH Group’s reluctance to accept a lower price means the IPO remains a tough sell.

Apr 22, 2014 14:29 UTC

Manchester United’s crisis has silver lining

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Manchester United fans won’t like this, but the club’s crisis is exactly what the soccer business, and United itself, needs. A manager ditched after 10 months, a lowly seventh place in the league, an enforced absence from European football: this is the kind of drama that keeps the sport exciting and secures future revenue streams. Nothing is more boring than a league dominated by an overwhelming team.

Apr 22, 2014 06:52 UTC

Graft purges don’t hurt shareholders – insiders do

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By John Foley 

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

China Resources chairman Song Lin has been sacked for disciplinary violations, leaving an empire with $150 billion in assets leaderless. Though China’s state-company bosses will quake in their loafers, the damage to investors looks manageable. The real problem is a wider culture that treats outside shareholders as an afterthought.

Apr 21, 2014 06:46 UTC

Missing inflation could make Asian bonds frothier

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Asia’s inflation is missing. Analysts have been caught by surprise. If it isn’t found soon, the region’s frothy bond prices could get even higher.

Apr 17, 2014 16:02 UTC

Review: Hustling helps Africa’s partial success

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

“Kanju” makes modern Africa work. In her new book “The Bright Continent,” the American journalist Dayo Olopade claims that this Yoruba word for hustling, striving and rule-breaking explains how the invisible hand outwits the dead hand of corrupt bureaucracy in much of the continent. Sadly, kanju also makes most African countries tough places to do fully organized business.

Apr 17, 2014 15:36 UTC

Sanctions on Russia will cost less than inaction

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By Pierre Briançon

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

Vladimir Putin has set the stage well for the first international talks on Ukraine. Armed pro-Russian separatists have seized buildings in several eastern Ukrainian cities. Their uniforms and weapons suggest they are equipped by the Russian army, if not part of it. The rebels’ success has shown that the government in Kiev is not in control of the country – not even of its own security forces.

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 17, 2014 02:14 UTC

CITIC’s $37 bln merger hints at SOE reform task

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By Una Galani

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

CITIC’s $37 billion merger has shed some light on the gargantuan task of reforming China’s state-owned enterprises. The giant conglomerate is merging its assets, which range from finance to football, into its smaller Hong Kong-listed subsidiary. The result combines listed stakes and a mish-mash of smaller businesses. But if all goes well, CITIC Pacific shareholders will get a profitable ringside seat in the cleanup.

Apr 16, 2014 06:02 UTC

Hong Kong needs to defend shareholder democracy

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By Una Galani and Peter Thal Larsen

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Hong Kong needs to make a stand for shareholder democracy. Alibaba’s decision to shift its giant stock market listing to the United States has sparked a debate about control of public companies in the former British colony. Hong Kong’s stock exchange, whose rules wouldn’t have permitted a plan to let Alibaba insiders nominate a majority of board directors, is preparing a public consultation on shareholder rights. But dumping the principle of “one share, one vote” would be a mistake.

Apr 15, 2014 05:47 UTC

WH Group’s quick pork flip serves up meaty return

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By Una Galani 

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

WH Group’s quick pork flip will serve up a meaty return. The Chinese pig producer hasn’t had much time to justify the 31 percent premium it paid for rival Smithfield less than seven months ago. Yet the planned relisting of the enlarged group in Hong Kong implies the value of the U.S. business has risen at least 21 percent.