Breakingviews

 
Taiwan wants to boot the e-commerce group out for not declaring itself Chinese. Yet Alibaba’s home changes depending on who asks. China’s taxman sees Hong Kong, licensing bodies see China, and investors see the Cayman Islands. The confusion may encourage regulatory meddling.

Tech drive strips old-school carmakers of clout

Apple is the latest to take an interest. From Tesla to Google, the shift to connected, self-driving vehicles may take a while, but it could shake up everything from systems to materials to car usage. The winners may be able to rev up returns far higher than current performance.

French telco buyout shows dealmaker in a hurry

Vivendi is selling its residual 20 pct in Numericable-SFR to the mobile operator itself and parent Altice for 3.9 bln euros. This helps Altice’s billionaire boss Patrick Drahi prepare for a follow-on deal with Bouygues. It’s harder to see why Vivendi would accept a big markdown.

India's infrastructure push could be envy of West

The government has pushed back its deficit reduction target in order to boost spending on roads, rail and power. New Delhi is now unmistakably pursuing a public investment-led growth strategy. It’s an opportunity that rich nations, which can borrow far more cheaply, are missing.

U.S. student loans could need $500 bln bailout

Borrowing for education has soared over the past decade, ballooning to $1.2 trln and growing far faster than GDP. With serious delinquencies at 11 pct and Washington on the hook, there’s a mess in the making. A Breakingviews calculator shows how big Uncle Sam’s exposure could get.

Lloyds investment case hinges on its next dividend

The UK bank’s first payout since 2008 is an encouraging milestone. But it’s largely symbolic. The critical valuation issue is whether Lloyds’ pledge to pay out at least half its future earnings represents a floor or a ceiling - and whether the regulator allows fatter payouts.

Review: Building HSBC's sprawling, flawed empire

The Hong Kong bank grew into one of the world’s biggest financial institutions. But poor results and a furore over Swiss tax make for an unhappy 150th anniversary. A new history shows how hands-off management and breakneck M&A under former chairman John Bond are partly to blame.