KKR’s First Data charges into tech-ier second life

July 21, 2015

Its turnaround on track, the U.S. payments processor filed for an IPO eight years after its LBO. The equity value may reach $20 bln, bringing private equity owners a modest profit despite overpaying. The credit card pioneer’s challenge, though, is to be disruptor – not disrupted.

Univision’s IPO could be just a warm-up act

By Guest Contributor
July 7, 2015

Private equity backers are finally floating the fast-growing, debt-laden U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster. Univision would make a nice fit for Disney, Time Warner or CBS. A full sale, however, may wait until the valuation – and minority owner Televisa’s position – is clearer.

IPO madness in China stock markets is relative

June 26, 2015

Guotai Junan shares popped 44 pct after its IPO, valuing China’s third-largest broker at $35 billion. Rivals make that look pedestrian. Such excesses are possible because China remains mostly sealed. Foreign markets courting China’s capital should hope its exuberance stays home.

Alibaba in 2016: an imagined letter to investors

December 29, 2014

The e-commerce group’s first year as a listed company brought growth and change, departing chairman Jack Ma writes in a hypothetical memo. Profitability is falling, regulators circling, and new projects have uncertain returns. Even a thoroughbred is tested on a long journey.

China’s invisible tycoon centre stage in Wanda IPO

December 2, 2014

Wang Jianlin is China’s second-richest man, and will soon be the controlling shareholder of four listed companies. Despite his high profile, he isn’t on the board and has no official role at any of them. It looks like good governance, but raises a different set of concerns.

Chinese flirt app seeks undiscerning IPO investors

November 12, 2014

Social network Momo adds a new twist to mobile chat by helping strangers connect. But swelling losses and peculiar governance, even by Chinese tech company standards, are troubling. Investors have accepted similar risks with companies like Alibaba and, but based on Momo’s early filing, its IPO will be a date to forget.

Spreadsheet bungles alive and well in high finance

October 20, 2014

No less a practitioner than Goldman Sachs double-counted some of Tibco Software’s shares in calculating the company’s value in a sale worth $4.3 bln – oops, sorry, $4.2 bln. The mistake probably didn’t change much. What’s telling is that no one spotted a fairly obvious blunder.

European IPO wobble is about more than volatility

October 9, 2014

New issues in France and Italy have been pulled. As ever, companies blame choppy markets. That’s partly true. But misfiring debuts from Rocket and Zalando hurt badly. Europe’s economy is faltering. And a busy year has made investors both less flush and more discriminating.

Jumbo $6 bln bank IPO shows Saudi too big to miss

October 7, 2014

The sale of shares in the kingdom’s top bank will be the largest this year after Alibaba. A few foreign investors may share some of the upside. For most, it’s a reminder of the opportunities on offer when the $584 bln market opens more fully to outsiders next year.

Rocket and Zalando call top of Europe’s IPO market

October 3, 2014

Despite being heavily subscribed, the tech incubator and the online retailer performed badly after listing, together wiping out 1.5 bln euros. The stock market has been the easiest exit route for European asset sales this year. Hereon, vendors won’t be able to name their price.