Japan’s investor revolution is delayed, not dead

November 20, 2015

Shareholders are souring on the hope that Japan Inc. can become better-run and more profitable. That’s too gloomy. Last year’s returns on equity were humdrum and there have been big disappointments. But real change is underway and the pressure for more is huge.

Wells Fargo shows rivals how CEO succession’s done

November 18, 2015

JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon has pushed out or lost possible heirs. BofA and Citi have created chaos at the top. But the most valuable U.S. bank has positioned Tim Sloan to replace John Stumpf while also grooming other long-serving executives to step in. It’s a lesson in leadership.

Hyatt’s M&A fail is small win for good governance

November 17, 2015

The U.S. hotelier lost to Marriott in the $12 bln takeover of Starwood. One factor was the Pritzker family’s tight grip on Hyatt. It conceded the flaw by offering to alter its super-voting share scheme in the bid. The rejection provides a warning to other feudal companies.

Heads won’t roll at Mylan despite blunders

November 13, 2015

Rather than take a $40 bln-plus offer from Teva, the drug firm pursued Perrigo, whose owners rejected the bid on Friday. The vote was partly against Mylan’s poor governance – which also makes it unusually hard for its own shareholders to turf out inept executives and directors.

Biotech firm’s stock buyback emits bad bouquet

November 12, 2015

NantKwest wants to snap up a large chunk of stock at a big discount to its July IPO. Yet the biotech controlled by Patrick Soon-Shiong needs the money as it’s likely to burn cash for years. A buyback would, though, prop up the price ahead of an expiring lockup for executives.

ABN Amro IPO merits discount for ugly structure

November 10, 2015

The Dutch state is hawking up to 23 pct of its erstwhile problem child, valuing the bank at up to 18.8 bln euros. The price range seems attractive relative to listed peers. But a markdown is warranted given an anti-takeover provision that could rescind investors’ voting rights.

Yahoo needs truth rather than report from McKinsey

November 9, 2015

The struggling internet site has hired the firm for advice on new opportunities. It’s unclear, though, what management consultants can do to arrest the company’s descent that a procession of CEOs hasn’t already tried. A blunt memo recommending a sale would make better reading.

Valeant CEO gets called on $100 mln excess

November 6, 2015

Paying bosses in equity nudges them to serve shareholder interests. The pharma giant went to extremes, allowing chief Michael Pearson to borrow heavily against his shares. The tumbling stock forced him to repay the debt - an example of how skewed incentives have rocked Valeant.

Three roadblocks to real change at scandal-hit VW

November 4, 2015

Family shareholders, unions and the Lower Saxon state all stand in the way of sweeping reforms the carmaker needs, such as an outside chairman. A share-price implosion might sway the family, but for the others to agree, Chancellor Angela Merkel may need to bang heads together.

Boardroom gender targets only do half the job

November 4, 2015

Bonuses paid to City executives should be linked to how many senior women they employ, according to a review commissioned by the UK government. The idea probably has more merits than drawbacks. But promoting women to the highest echelons may be easier than retaining them.