Breakingviews

Malaysia fiasco undercuts Goldman’s standards push

July 22, 2016

After the financial crisis, the Wall Street firm overhauled its business practices in an effort to avoid big reputational as well as financial risks. But its dealings with scandal-hit sovereign fund 1MDB, spelled out in new lawsuits, cast doubt on the depth of Goldman's changes.

Fat-tail US legal risk keeps Malaysian scandal hot

July 21, 2016

The Justice Department has alleged over $3.5 bln was siphoned off from 1MDB. The legal details join the dots of the controversy, with plenty of colour. Everyone involved with the sovereign fund, from the Malaysian premier to Goldman Sachs, should feel uncomfortable.

Activist faces long odds to stop Baidu video deal

July 20, 2016

Acacia Partners objects to a bid from Baidu's CEO for the group's video unit. The U.S. fund is right to highlight potential conflicts of interest. But it is hard to see an activist victory here, given the boss's influence. Same goes for China's other internet giants.

SoftBank’s $32 bln ARM bet gives investors a shock

July 18, 2016

The Japanese tech group has reportedly agreed to buy the UK chip designer. It's a pricey punt on connected devices, and an unwelcome surprise for those who thought SoftBank was focused on reducing debt. Shareholders remain at the mercy of Chairman Masayoshi Son's "crazy ideas".

Nintendo’s augmented shares reflect new reality

July 14, 2016

The runaway success of the Japanese group's Pokemon app has sent its shares up more than 50 pct. That's a big vote of confidence in Nintendo's future mobile games, too. To justify the move, EBITDA will need to top 250 bln yen by 2018-2019 - more than double previous forecasts.

Temasek’s goals are bold for a low-yield world

July 8, 2016

The $180 bln Singaporean investor just suffered its first down year since the financial crisis. Still, it beat benchmarks, and some key holdings have since rebounded. However, Temasek is still targeting a feisty 8 pct annual return. That could skew future investment decisions.

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.

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.

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.

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.