May 30, 2014 14:46 UTC

Henry Kravis cultivates private equity perennials

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Henry Kravis is sowing the seeds of private equity perennials. U.S. buyout shops like his are selling companies to each other at a breakneck pace. It’s easy to be skeptical about these so-called secondaries. But KKR’s $1.6 billion acquisition of landscaper Brickman Group may turn out to be an example of how such deals can flourish.

May 29, 2014 06:16 UTC

Alibaba hints at overseas push with SingPost stake

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Alibaba hasn’t even completed its U.S. initial public offering, but already it is striking out overseas. A $249 million stake in logistics group Singapore Post targets one area where the Chinese e-commerce group may be able to apply its talent. But the concrete benefits of the deal are unclear – besides focusing investors’ attention on the potential value of growth outside the People’s Republic.

May 28, 2014 14:01 UTC

Glaxo wrestles with its past

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By Neil Unmack

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

Investors keep taking hits on GlaxoSmithKline. The pharmaceutical group’s stock price has fallen nearly 10 percent in the last year on the back of weaker sales and bribery accusations in China. News of a criminal investigation in the United Kingdom knocked almost $2 billion of its market capitalisation on Wednesday morning.

May 28, 2014 06:17 UTC

Korean chat app sends mixed valuation messages

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By Robyn Mak 

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

What’s the value of mobile chat apps? Investors have been scratching their heads about the topic ever since Facebook slapped a $19 billion price tag on WhatsApp earlier this year. The recent backdoor listing of South Korea’s Kakao offers a new data point. But its user metrics and revenue numbers still offer a mixed message on valuation.

May 27, 2014 15:48 UTC

Failed bid would leave Astra under pressure

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

The likely failure of U.S. drugmaker Pfizer’s $119 billion bid for AstraZeneca, which was due to lapse on May 26, would leave the frustrated buyer no worse off. But the target has much to prove. Some of its shareholders welcomed a possible takeover – and could again.

May 26, 2014 07:16 UTC

U.S. firms get caught in China spying crossfire

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By Ethan Bilby

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

It’s almost a year since U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a cordial “shirt-sleeves summit”. When it comes to the two countries’ internet rivalry, however, bare knuckles have replaced bare forearms. Last week’s indictment by the United States of five Chinese army officers as alleged cyber spies has prompted a backlash against American companies. China’s weapon is shutting them out from future growth.

May 24, 2014 12:34 UTC

Hacked eBay exposes itself to another attack

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By Richard Beales

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

EBay just exposed itself to another attack. Carl Icahn buried the hatchet with the online auctioneer’s board before it came out that records of 145 million customers got hacked. That means there’s an opening for another uppity investor to pressure eBay’s chief executive and directors.

May 22, 2014 19:41 UTC

Wal-Mart can win leading the way on minimum wage

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

Wal-Mart Stores can win by leading the way on the minimum wage. The mega-retailer’s labor costs would rise significantly if the U.S. government were to increase the national pay floor. But the company also has far more low-wage customers than it does employees. That would translate into a net gain in earnings, according to a Breakingviews analysis.

May 22, 2014 06:37 UTC

JD.com wins rich price despite poor governance

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By Robyn Mak 

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

JD.com has achieved a rich price despite poor governance. China’s second largest e-commerce group priced its shares above the expected range on May 21, raising $1.8 billion. Investors in the initial public offering seem unfazed that the company just disclosed a 5.3 billion yuan ($849 million) loss in the first quarter of 2014, caused by a gift of stock to the company’s chief executive officer. Such a large and unexplained act of generosity should raise red flags.

May 21, 2014 21:16 UTC

Heed New York Times governance risk headlines

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

As investors surrender rights to founders of today’s internet darlings, they may want to consider the imbroglio at the New York Times Co. It’s an excellent lesson of what can happen when once-entrusted competent leaders are gone and their successors become entrenched.