Breakingviews

Japan Inc would gain by fixing M&A sights on home

April 20, 2016

Bosses have been busy buying abroad. But often it makes more sense to consolidate fragmented domestic industries. With Japanese firms under pressure to become better-run and more profitable, a recent string of tie-ups could signal the start of a more investor-friendly deal spree.

Deals can help Japan’s banks offset dollar drought

April 13, 2016

Mega-banks MUFG, SMFG and Mizuho are making new loans abroad faster than they can amass matching deposits. This headache has boosted the cost of swapping funds from yen to dollars, and made regulators in Tokyo wary. Buying smaller U.S. lenders would help reduce the mismatch.

Post-Starwood, China Inc must reassure M&A targets

April 11, 2016

The failed $14 bln deal may make foreign firms warier about Chinese bids. Big break fees, plus plenty of detail on financing, ownership, and official support, will help soothe future targets. But ironclad guarantees are impossible. So higher premiums will be needed too.

Cops arrive just in time to break up the M&A party

By Rob Cox
April 6, 2016

There’s no better sign that the current boom of corporate promiscuity has reached end days than the ferocious intervention by U.S. authorities citing antitrust, tax or national security concerns. The demise of Pfizer-Allergan should clearly signal the cycle is coming to a close.

Sharp take-under oddly denotes Japanese success

By Rob Cox
March 30, 2016

Foxconn has clinched control of the ailing Japanese display maker for a reduced $3.5 bln. Fixing Sharp will be a tough task for the Taiwanese giant led by Terry Gou. But this historic, if somewhat ugly and complicated deal, is Exhibit A that Japan Inc is capable of reform.

Grolsch could leave bitter taste at Asahi

January 13, 2016

Japan’s top brewer is eyeing beers left over from ABI’s takeover of SABMiller. A mooted $3.4 bln tab for Peroni and Grolsch sounds frothy, especially with limited potential to cut costs. Asahi looks desperate for overseas growth, even at the expense of shareholder value.

Japan’s outbound M&A wave will sweep up minnows

December 29, 2015

A growing number of companies are trying to buy their way out of a shrinking home market. While blue-chips like Canon, Nippon Life and Mitsubishi UFJ are still shopping abroad, smaller companies are getting bolder. Watch for less familiar names venturing overseas in 2016.

Dow-DuPont an activist coup on Corporate America

December 9, 2015

The $60 bln chemical giants are in merger talks, according to reports, a testament to the persistence of pushy investors Dan Loeb and Nelson Peltz. If the companies pull off a deal and a rumored three-way split, it could be this generation’s version of barbarians at the gate.

Cox: Two signs of M&A bacchanal’s last hurrah

By Rob Cox
December 1, 2015

The boom just topped $4 trln, helped along by one telltale massive deal and another much smaller one. Pfizer’s takeover of Allergan is clearly predicated on exploiting tax loopholes while a U.S. retailer is getting into the pizza racket. Both indicate a cycle well past its peak.

Messy deal calls truce in China online travel war

October 27, 2015

The $3.4 bln tie-up between rival travel sites Ctrip and Qunar heralds a strategic ceasefire in increasingly costly discount battles. Yet the share swap with Qunar parent Baidu falls short of a full merger. Shareholders can only guess the value created from the tangled alliance.