Breakingviews

Philips lighting split is a bright idea

June 30, 2014

The Dutch conglomerate is restructuring again, moving high-powered LEDs and car lights into a standalone unit with 1.4 bln euros in sales. The business is fast-growing and would benefit from outside capital. Stepping out of the parent’s shadow should help.

Japan Inc’s earnings problems are home grown

November 7, 2011

Something is amiss with Japan’s biggest names. Sony, Panasonic and Honda were three whose earnings were battered in the latest quarter, but they weren’t alone. Earnings at the 493 Japanese companies that announced results as of Oct. 31 were 57 percent short of their forecasts, according to Deutsche Bank. Excuses abound, from earthquakes to weak U.S. demand. But it’s problems at home that make them so susceptible.

Taiwanese money can’t save Japan from Samsung

March 29, 2012

Foxconn’s $1.6 bln investment into Sharp buys Japan’s electronics company time. But there’s a huge glut in flat-panel screens and the likes of Sharp, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba may be fighting a losing battle against the Koreans. As Hitachi has shown, it may be best to withdraw.

Samsung moves on from Japan to nibble at Apple

April 30, 2012

The Korean company learned by pulling apart Japanese electronics, then reverse-engineering the business model. Having taken the lessons, it has built a commanding position in TVs and smartphones. As Apple tackles emerging markets, Samsung is showing it is still hungry.

Samsung investors should worry less about Apple

May 17, 2012

The Korean company’s shares slid over fears Apple might use fewer of its chips, and buy more Japanese ones instead. Apple may diversify its suppliers, but that just reflects the fact that smartphone demand is outpacing parts supply. Samsung’s valuation looks too low.

Weak yen makes Japanese electronics firms giddy

February 4, 2013

Panasonic shares jumped 17 percent after losses were less bad than expected. Manufacturers have been so badly beaten up that even small changes in profitability have a big impact on expectations. Revenue is still shrinking, though. The recent rally is largely based on hope.

Dan Loeb‘s breakup plan deserves Sony’s ear

May 14, 2013

The U.S. hedge fund manager wants the Japanese electronics giant to spin off its entertainment arm. Activists rarely prevail in Japan. But Loeb’s idea may have merit. In the spirit of the country’s economic renaissance, Sony should take him, and other shareholders, seriously.

Tokyo Electron takeover is no template for Japan

October 3, 2013

Applied Materials wooed its smaller rival with an all-stock merger and shared governance. Other buyers may try a similar approach to tempt Japanese partners to the altar. But a large chunk of Tokyo Electron’s stock is already held overseas. Other targets lack that advantage.

Kindle going places, but rivals fast behind

October 7, 2009

To date, Kindle could boast of a critical advantage over other devices: the capacity to wirelessly download new books or other content in under 60 seconds. But that's changing.