Breakingviews

SoftBank’s hired gun takes high road to ownership

August 20, 2015

Nikesh Arora will invest $483 million in the Japanese tech group, cementing his place as successor to founder Masayoshi Son. It’s a refreshing change from the complex awards handed out by many U.S. companies. It should also help the ex-Googler push through more bold investments.

Best chapter in Pearson breakup story yet to come

August 5, 2015

The media group can soon sell its 47 pct stake in publisher Penguin Random House to co-owner Bertelsmann. Including future synergies, the stake could fetch $2.7 billion, twice what Pearson got for the FT. Since the venture could get more valuable still, waiting looks better.

Edward Hadas: Nikkei joins demographic denial cult

By Edward Hadas
July 29, 2015

Nikkei is the latest Japanese company to look for growth outside the shrinking domestic market. Its Financial Times purchase may work out, but the approach is flawed. Few companies can profitably escape their demographic destiny. It may be better to accept steady decline.

Rob Cox: FT is to Nikkei as Jim Beam is to Suntory

July 24, 2015

Outside Japan, the $1.3 bln purchase of the salmon-hued newspaper is hard to fathom. The finances may never stack up. From a Japanese perspective, the calculus is different. In a shrinking market, without a product that travels internationally, deals like this are existential.

Financial logic in $1.3 bln FT buy is paper thin

By Guest Contributor
July 23, 2015

Japanese media group Nikkei is taking a bold step with its purchase of the Financial Times. The price equates to 35 times adjusted operating income. Sure, Nikkei gets a bucketload of kudos. But the tag is around three times higher than the multiple enjoyed by quoted media peers.

SoftBank’s solar ambitions fly close to the Son

June 23, 2015

Masayoshi Son has pledged to invest $20 bln in solar energy in India with partners Bharti and Foxconn. The country’s energy needs are clear but synergies with the Japanese group’s internet businesses look dubious. Shareholders can only hope the board clips the chairman’s wings.

How to tell if Japan’s shareholder love-in is real

June 15, 2015

Japan Inc. faces unprecedented pressure to get leaner, better-run, and more profitable. Real success means higher returns on equity. First comes a tough AGM season that could embarrass the likes of Sony and Sharp. Then expect more buybacks, stake sales, activism and M&A.

Tokio Marine learning lessons in value destruction

June 10, 2015

The 38 pct premium the Japanese insurer is paying in its $7.5 bln purchase of HCC is only half as absurd as in its two previous U.S. deals. Those extravagant forays should give it scope to cut costs. By slicing 15 pct of HCC’s overhead it might even finally make a deal stack up.

Japan’s GDP lift is bounty from currency war

June 8, 2015

Output grew 3.9 percent in the first quarter, much faster than the 2.4 percent rate previously estimated. Investments made all the difference. Japanese exporters are ramping up capacity as they use the weak yen to fight for market share. Higher wages may be the next hopeful sign.

SoftBank’s $1 bln Korean deal needs to travel well

June 4, 2015

The Japanese giant has added a stake in South Korea’s Coupang to its portfolio. It’s a big bet on a young company in a relatively small country. The online retailer is leading the shift to mobile shopping. SoftBank may need to export its expertise to justify the investment.