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Not long ago an overheating housing market was seen by many as the big UK danger. Now mortgage approvals are dropping and house inflation is easing – even though mortgages are getting cheaper. Tighter home-loan regulation is a factor. Workers’ low earnings are the main restraint.

Samsung IPO offers ringside seat for restructuring

The South Korean conglomerate’s de facto holding company is an odd mix. Cheil Industries operates theme parks but most of its value is in a stake in an insurer. For those seeking exposure to Samsung’s wider shake-up, the $1.4 bln IPO is a way to get close to its heir apparent.

American banking has its own Tea Party

Like the anti-establishment wing of the GOP, the Independent Community Bankers of America has emerged as a highly vocal opponent of all things Wall Street, including a Lazard banker’s nomination for a Treasury role. These are the plaintive cries of a dying breed of banker.

Private equity shows signs of pre-crisis brio

Canada’s Onex has bought Swiss packager SIG for up to $4.7 bln in a secondary buyout. It’s one of Europe’s biggest LBOs in five years and deploys pre-crisis levels of leverage. Private equity restlessness and a shortage of big targets created the conditions for a landmark deal.

China's offshore empires go from help to headache

Authorities have launched an assault on evasion, extracting $137 mln in taxes from a multinational company. Anonymous offshore havens and convoluted ownership chains make enforcement complex. Without them, innovative Chinese companies like Alibaba and Tencent might not exist.

Brazil's epic water crisis a global wake-up call

Sao Paulo, a city of 20 mln, is running out of H2O thanks to creaky infrastructure, political battles, a record drought and Amazon deforestation. The humanitarian and economic cost would be immense if supplies dried up. The fiasco should drive other metropolises to action.

BT is in strong position for mobile M&A

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.