Breakingviews

Vanke battle is test of China’s shareholder rules

July 7, 2016

The country's top property developer is fighting with major holder Baoneng. The spat has produced a $7 bln deal, a motion to dismiss the board, and suggestions big stakeholders are colluding. The outcome will show whether China's public markets are up to protecting investors.

Comcast and Netflix put growth ahead of gripes

July 6, 2016

The video-streaming service helped scupper the cable provider's bid for Time Warner Cable. Now Comcast is putting its nemesis on its set-top box - with access to 22 mln potential subscribers - as it tries to build a one-stop video shop. Those are good reasons to bury the hatchet.

China’s giant savings bank not as safe as it seems

July 6, 2016

One in three Chinese citizens has money in Postal Savings Bank of China. It has fewer loans to bloated state firms and fewer bad debts than rivals. But big holdings of bonds issued by other arms of the Chinese state – and increased dabbling in shadow finance – still pose risks.

UK upstart banks lack too-big-to-fail airbag

July 6, 2016

Britain's challenger banks have grown thanks to their bigger peers' dire customer service. Most look well capitalised. But a Brexit-induced recession and commercial property downturn may expose shoddy underwriting. Their tiny size means regulators won't mind if they go under.

Tesla pressure clouds Elon Musk’s solar gambit

July 5, 2016

The electric-car maker missed its delivery target again. That's bad news for a company aiming to quintuple production by 2018. A fatal crash also has invited scrutiny of Tesla's Autopilot feature. These concerns further undermine an already questionable effort to buy SolarCity.

It’s not how much oil, but how much influence

July 5, 2016

The U.S. has more oil than Saudi Arabia, according to Rystad Energy. But oil reserves are only worth counting if there’s a chance they can be produced economically over time. Size is much less important than an ability to guide the price - and there, Saudi still rules.

Twinkie the Kid rides again, on risky debt saddle

July 5, 2016

Hostess, indebted maker of the iconic snack cake, is going public in a deal with a SPAC run by Gores Group alongside investors Apollo and Metropoulos. At 10.4 times EBITDA, it's a high price for a spiffed-up baker that went bankrupt twice due to changing consumer tastes.

Japan’s carmakers are passengers in wild FX ride

July 5, 2016

Shares in Toyota, Nissan, Honda and others have crashed since Britain voted to quit the EU. All will be hit by an economic slowdown, and some would suffer from new tariffs on UK-made vehicles. But the selloff mostly reflects how exposed the firms are to currency-market swings.

UK’s tax cut goal: calm business, scare Brussels

July 4, 2016

George Osborne has plans to cut the UK's already-low corporate tax rate to near-Irish 15 pct levels. It might stop domestic business jumping ship post-Brexit. But the prospect of a tax haven UK also acts as a bargaining chip to use in forthcoming exit negotiations.

HK has to pore over cement deal that came unstuck

July 4, 2016

West China Cement shares crashed just before a takeover by rival Anhui Conch fell over. That suggests the news leaked somehow. Hong Kong regulators have already clamped down on insider trading, long seen as a big problem in the territory. A fast, thorough investigation is needed.