Breakingviews

Tesco’s South Korean unit stacks up for a buyout

June 9, 2015

A disposal for around $6 bln would do much to fix the British grocer’s strained balance sheet. Tesco might not miss the Korean earnings that much either. It’s hard to see trade buyers bidding up the price. But it presents a rare opportunity for private equity in Asia.

UK politics is failing the trust test

By Hugo Dixon
May 4, 2015

In the run-up to the May 7 election, the public has lambasted leaders of the established parties for breaking promises and lack of candour. While the critique is healthy, Britain has yet to give birth to leaders who score high on integrity. This is needed, not just in the UK.

World’s swelling debt calls for radical surgery

February 5, 2015

Despite promises to deleverage, global borrowing has increased by $57 trillion since 2007, according to McKinsey. It’s hard to see economies growing their way back to prudence. Shrinking the pile will require borrowers to seek relief – and some creditors to cancel their claims.

New tech battlegrounds pitch East against West

January 9, 2015

Tech titans that have conquered their home markets are targeting new ones, like India and Indonesia, where leaders are yet to be crowned. Tie-ups between Japan’s SoftBank and e-commerce groups in Asia may signal a trend that could put Silicon Valley at a disadvantage.

Response to Paris attacks caught between two risks

By Pierre Briancon
January 8, 2015

The killings at the Charlie Hebdo weekly put French and European authorities at the confluence of two dangers – individual acts of violence and excessive countermeasures. Fringe parties may benefit if the response is too weak. Media freedom might suffer if it is too strong.

Crude slump will stoke European oil and gas M&A

January 2, 2015

The sharp drop in the price of Brent might make it harder to get deals done in the short term. But if the downturn persists, financial distress will put some small players in play. Larger, more defensive mergers, designed to create value by sharing costs, are also possible.

European telecoms will dial up more deals

December 16, 2014

Investors have brightened as M&A has swept the sector. Thanks to BT, Britain is up next. More mergers could follow in France, Italy and Belgium. What’s not to like? Well, windfalls from big cross-border deals looks distant and valuations already price in most of the good news.

Haitong’s global ambitions start from low base

December 9, 2014

The Chinese broker has scooped up bailed-out Portuguese lender Espirito Santo’s investment bank for $466 million. Though the brand is dented and many staff have quit, it brings a toehold in London and New York as well as Lisbon. It’s a safer way to build an international network.

If Vodafone wants Liberty it has to get creative

December 1, 2014

The mobile giant is eyeing cable group Liberty Global for a $90 bln-plus takeover. The strategic case is easier to make than the financial one. Regulators may be persuadable. Investors and Liberty Chairman John Malone could be colder. Vodafone has to be resourceful.

BT is in strong position for mobile M&A

November 24, 2014

The fixed-line telco has shaken up UK communications by pushing into TV and now mobile. The reward is that BT has a choice of two mobile networks to buy, O2 or EE, and few likely counter-bidders. A 10 bln stg deal would help lift sales and protect BT’s broadband business.