Breakingviews

SoftBank’s Son tests limits of investor patience

July 19, 2016

SoftBank shares tanked after its no-synergy, $32 bln bet on UK chip designer ARM. Having just lost his heir apparent, founder Son talks about the company as if it is private and says the highly leveraged entity is "net debt zero". It takes the shine off his striking track record.

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".

China’s sports deals hit the hogwash jackpot

May 31, 2016

Mainland money is pouring into Western teams, rights, agents, and competitions. Bold M&A often comes with empty talk and hyperbole. The world of sport is not much better. Throw in the grand designs of China’s political leaders and you have a near-unbeatable trifecta of nonsense.

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.