Breakingviews

Tehran timidity says more about banks than Iran

May 13, 2016

European lenders seem reluctant to follow U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s entreaties to do business in the republic. An avalanche of legal and practical banana skins hint at why. These could be surmountable - if bank bosses believe their systems are up to the job.

UK deal veto would be big setback for Li Ka-shing

May 4, 2016

A $15 bln takeover of Telefonica’s O2 unit was key to making the Hong Kong tycoon’s costly bet on European telecoms pay off. If CK Hutchison cannot overturn a likely EU veto, his UK telco will either have to carry on as a disruptive fourth player, or find a fallback deal.

Li Ka-shing brings funding finesse to telco M&A

March 18, 2016

The tycoon may sell 20 pct of his UK mobile unit to outsiders. That could raise 1 bln pounds to help buy Telefonica’s O2, on top of the 3.1 bln pounds sovereign funds are already chipping in. That would let Li complete the 9 bln pound deal with no fresh investment.

HSBC’s choice for status quo risks pleasing nobody

February 15, 2016

After a 10-month flirtation, the lender is staying put in London. Britain has become more bank-friendly, and HSBC’s former Hong Kong home less certain. Moving its HQ would have been costly and complex. Yet the public rumination could leave both cities feeling short-changed.

China’s record waste deal is far from rubbish

February 5, 2016

State-backed Beijing Enterprises is buying Germany’s Energy from Waste for $1.6 bln. Unlike some of China’s splashier foreign deals, this looks decently priced and makes obvious strategic sense. China badly needs more clean-technology expertise. Expect more trashy buys.

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.

New Renault-Nissan pact is only roadside repair

December 14, 2015

France’s growing power at Renault is curbed, as is the French carmaker’s sway in Japan. It ends months of distraction for the auto alliance led by Carlos Ghosn. But the fiddly legal fixes only go so far. It would be better to see the duo drive towards a full merger.

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.

Container shipping deal stacks up in multiple ways

December 8, 2015

French giant CMA CGM is buying Singapore’s ailing Neptune Orient Lines for $2.4 billion plus debt. Offering majority owner Temasek and public shareholders close to book value – a 49 percent premium – looks generous. But the unlisted buyer can chart a course to value creation.

Modi chooses awkward time for UK rock star welcome

November 9, 2015

India’s prime minister will address a crowd of 60,000 at London’s Wembley Stadium this week. Courting the diaspora makes sense. But the rapturous welcome is out of tune with UK-India business ties and a big local election defeat at home, where Modi mania is definitely over.