Alibaba throws a wrench in web fundraising wars

November 24, 2015

The e-commerce giant is offloading its stake in Meituan Dianping at the same time as the Chinese startup raises up to $3 bln in new funds. The parallel sales will test investor demand for “online-to-offline” services. Alibaba’s exit will offer a clearer picture of valuations too.

Asian online giveaways echo past internet follies

November 23, 2015

The drug firms are shrugging off Uncle Sam’s latest attempt to prevent mergers predicated on relocating to low-tax jurisdictions. The largest-ever inversion, at some $150 bln, ought to raise pressure on lawmakers to find more comprehensive fixes to the great M&A tax dodge.

Alibaba Singles’ Day frenzy confuses growth debate

November 12, 2015

The Chinese e-commerce group processed transactions worth a staggering $14.3 bln on Nov. 11, 60 pct more than last year. Yet the boost is unlikely to have much impact on annual volumes. One day of online discount shopping also provides few clues about Chinese consumption.

Tech crunched between clashing U.S.-EU privacy law

November 10, 2015

Facebook got dinged in Belgium for secretly tracking visitors, while Spokeo’s similarly nosy conduct will probably go unpunished in America. Yet in neither case could victims prove they were harmed. The disparate outcomes highlight the need for more uniform data-gathering rules.

Match’s IPO profile is alluring but with strings

November 9, 2015

The dating-sites owner pegs its worth as high as $3.6 bln. Much of that derives from Tinder, its fast-growing swipe-to-like app. The numbers make for an attractive and credible stock. It’s a risky proposal, though, and Barry Diller’s IAC looks like an overbearing chaperone.

Financial tech has as much to gain as fear from D.C.

November 4, 2015

A new lobbying group of five big Silicon Valley firms reflects concerns that Washington may not understand the benefits of booming fintech. Banks have long made similar complaints about Uncle Sam. Like them, the industry needs to realize that regulation can help rein in excess.

Singles’ Day spat shows Alibaba’s jealous side

November 4, 2015

The Chinese e-commerce giant’s annual Nov. 11 shopping promotion has become a national festival. Now a smaller rival has accused Alibaba of bullying merchants into using only its platform. Market power may be good for driving sales, but not if it prompts regulators to weigh in.

Messy deal calls truce in China online travel war

October 27, 2015

The $3.4 bln tie-up between rival travel sites Ctrip and Qunar heralds a strategic ceasefire in increasingly costly discount battles. Yet the share swap with Qunar parent Baidu falls short of a full merger. Shareholders can only guess the value created from the tangled alliance.

Google and Amazon grapple happily with maturity

October 22, 2015

Alphabet, the new holding company for the search giant, is returning cash to shareholders. Amazon delivered profits. Both operations are growing so fast, and throwing off so much cash, that they can act as responsible stewards of capital while still chasing the next big thing.

Memo to Netflix: Card swipe may not connect

October 16, 2015

Plastic purveyors are hitting back after the video-streaming site blamed new chip-enabled credit cards for subpar Q3 subscriber growth. Netflix’s reason sounds weak. More worrying, companies using spurious-sounding ways to rationalize problems sometimes have bigger concerns.