Malaysia remains fragile despite China power deal

November 24, 2015

Troubled sovereign fund 1MDB will sell power assets to China’s CGN for $2.3 bln. To resolve its debt woes, the investor still needs to execute a larger bailout deal with Abu Dhabi. Even then, graft probes will keep up the pressure on Malaysia’s prime minister and the currency.

Samsung shows investors it can be generous too

October 29, 2015

The South Korean group plans to buy back stock worth $10 bln and pay out up to half of its free cash flow in dividends. That will shrink its cash pile and may help the Lee family reorganise their empire. It’s a small but welcome sign that restructuring can benefit shareholders.

Elliott buys new stick to beat Samsung

July 7, 2015

The activist fund has a new lever to oppose the South Korean group’s ruling Lee family over a $9 bln merger. Buying stakes in two more group firms probably ups Elliott’s total outlay on Samsung by more than a quarter. This makes the fight more complex – and perhaps uglier.

South Korean M&A quirks hold perils for investors

June 24, 2015

A $9.2 bln merger led by Samsung’s holding company has cast a spotlight on the country’s peculiar stock market rules. The dealmaking shows the limits of measures designed to protect independent investors and how the wider system is stacked in favour of the chaebols.

Weaker shareholder rights a bad omen for Hong Kong

June 22, 2015

Ditching its “one share, one vote” rule may help the stock exchange lure listings from New York – or Shanghai. But Hong Kong’s standards are already under pressure as China’s capital markets opens up. The willingness to sacrifice long-held principles bodes ill for future reform.

AirAsia takes multi-stop route to capital-raising

June 18, 2015

Concerns over debt and accounting have hammered shares in Asia’s largest budget carrier. It says a rights issue isn’t needed and can recoup cash from overseas offshoots. But this requires investors to put fresh capital into the loss-making affiliates. That won’t be an easy sell.

Toyota’s new hybrids should have stayed in the lab

June 2, 2015

The carmaker wants to lure more long-term retail investors. Hence its new “Model AA” securities: untradeable convertibles with, oddly, voting rights. They will do little for the company and disadvantage ordinary shareholders. Better hope Japan Inc. doesn’t follow Toyota’s lead.

SoftBank lives up to its name with Indian startup

May 19, 2015 CEO Rahul Yadav is a venture capital nightmare. The 26 year-old has slammed investors including the Japanese group as intellectually incapable and pledged to give away his shares. SoftBank may value a reputation for being founder-friendly, but being weak is worse.

Ballmer’s exit value is now Nadella’s to preserve

August 20, 2014

Microsoft’s market capitalization grew by over $100 bln from the day about a year ago the longtime CEO said he would resign to Tuesday, when he left the board. With his predecessor fading from the picture, maintaining the momentum is now firmly in new boss Satya Nadella’s hands.

Alibaba’s slow unveiling shows good and bad sides

June 17, 2014

The e-commerce giant has revealed more details ahead of its upcoming IPO. The growing importance of commission revenue is positive. But the rapid shift to mobile transactions is squeezing margins. The quartet of non-executive directors is unlikely to win over governance sceptics.