Breakingviews

Sickly Lotte IPO reflects two faces of South Korea

June 13, 2016

Seoul may be Asia’s coolest destination right now, and Lotte Group’s flagship duty-free arm ought to profit handsomely. But raids have derailed the unit’s $4.5 bln listing and drawn attention to Korea’s uglier side: its powerful, opaque and poorly governed conglomerates.

Time Out IPO more fringe than West End

June 10, 2016

The loss-making events magazine is raising 90 mln pounds on London’s junior market. Its revamp depends on convincing visitors to book tickets on its site, though its track record hasn’t been great so far. Online booking is a crowded field and the price it is asking looks high.

Wheezing unicorns catching breath of fresh IPO air

June 6, 2016

Twilio, Nutanix and other $1 bln-plus tech startups risk running short of cash as venture capital starts to dry up. A recent revival of initial public offerings may offer them new hope. Company valuations may drop, but that beats the alternative of a suddenly thinning herd.

BOC Aviation’s Hong Kong flotation deserves to fly

May 18, 2016

The plane-leasing group is taxiing towards a $1.1 bln offering. Being under Bank of China’s wing means cheaper funding and better returns than standalone rivals. Yet the premium valuation is only justified if the state-backed parent remains willing and able to act as a backstop.

Bank IPOs expose dark arts of Chinese finance

March 17, 2016

The country’s mid-sized lenders have become skilled at repackaging loans to look like less risky investments. Two Hong Kong share offerings underscore how such wizardry has fuelled growth. The practice makes China’s financial system even more interconnected – and more vulnerable.

Cox: Argentina, Aramco are deals for tricky times

By Rob Cox
January 26, 2016

Two big transactions dominated Davos. One would open up a democracy to capital markets after years of feckless governance and isolation. The other is designed to help a repressive regime retain power. In the world’s current parlous state, it’s to be hoped that both get done.

Saudi Aramco IPO could herald a Riyadh garage sale

January 12, 2016

The IPO of a strategic stake in Saudi Aramco could be the start of a kingdom-wide selloff of state assets. The government owns stakes in locally listed firms worth $170 billion. By spinning these off to compensate for lower oil revenue, it could fund years of budget deficits.

Saudi Aramco IPO carries big investor risks

January 8, 2016

Saudi Arabia has whetted the appetite of potential shareholders with the prospect of listing shares in its state oil company. A sale would give investors access to 18 pct of the world’s oil reserves but little say in how the company is run. The risks could outweigh the rewards.

Hong Kong’s IPO prowess is weaker than it looks

December 4, 2015

Despite China’s boom and bust, the bourse has hosted $30 bln of floats this year - more than any other exchange. That should ease angst about HK’s future as a capital market. But quality is a problem – post-IPO performance is patchy and “cornerstone” backers play too big a role.

Public investors lasso Square to tame the unicorns

November 19, 2015

Jack Dorsey’s payments firm has priced below its indicated range and at less than half the value of its last funding round. A two-timing CEO, rising competition and losses provided ammunition for old-school mutual fund managers demanding big discounts to lofty private valuations.