Breakingviews

SoftBank lives up to its name with Indian startup

May 19, 2015

Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav is a venture capital nightmare. The 26 year-old has slammed investors including the Japanese group as intellectually incapable and pledged to give away his shares. SoftBank may value a reputation for being founder-friendly, but being weak is worse.

U.S. trade setback more diplomatic than economic

May 13, 2015

Senators denied President Obama authority to negotiate a new Pacific trade pact. The squabbling contrasts with China’s success in organising its infrastructure bank. But the benefits of both projects are uncertain. The world economy can shrug off the blow to America’s leadership.

SoftBank’s next boss more symbol than succession

May 12, 2015

Chairman Masayoshi Son has no plans to retire but has named ex-Google executive Nikesh Arora as his likely successor. Appointing a foreigner to the role may be mainly a way for SoftBank to gild its international credentials, but the gesture is still a valuable one.

Abe’s Capitol Hill speech needs ideas for backyard

April 29, 2015

Shinzo Abe’s address to Congress will highlight Japan’s strategic and financial relationship with the United States. But the mooted trade deal offers limited economic benefits. Managing the rivalry with China and fostering cordiality with India can make Japan a more vital ally.

Japan stocks can rise beyond symbolic Nikkei high

April 23, 2015

The index closed above 20,000 for the first time since 2000. Though Japan’s bull market is more than two years old, a trade deal with the United States could make returns still sweeter for investors. Stronger corporate earnings and more money-printing could also boost equities.

Japan index: BOJ plays a risky waiting game

April 8, 2015

The Bank of Japan refused to heed growing calls to further ease its ultra-loose monetary policy. Inaction could be risky. Stock prices are the lone bright spot in a gloomy Breakingviews Abenomics Index reading for February. A return of deflation could hurt the BOJ’s credibility.

Japan retail deal gets M&A process back-to-front

March 11, 2015

Convenience stores FamilyMart and UNY have set a date for their $5.4 bln tie-up, but haven’t agreed key terms. It’s another sign of the complexities of dealmaking in a country where big domestic mergers are rare. No wonder investors are worried the union will destroy value.

Hitachi’s $2 bln deal signals Italy open for M&A

February 24, 2015

The Japanese firm is buying Finmeccanica’s rail units. In Italy and across Europe, sales of high-end industrial assets to the Far East can be unpopular. But Hitachi is a credible buyer paying a full price. It helps too that the seller is eager to slim down and cut debt.

Japan’s inflation test: Mapping the road to 2 pct

February 23, 2015

The central bank may yet hit its elusive goal, provided consumers spend, workers are productive and bond investors stay calm. A new Breakingviews calculator shows how much inflation Japan can expect after money-printing has ended. A 2017 sales tax hike would make the road harder.

Japan Post pays $5.1bln for global expansion stamp

February 18, 2015

The giant postal operator has offered a 49 percent premium for Australia’s Toll Holdings, despite few obvious synergies. The acquisition delivers Japan Post an international strategy ahead of its upcoming IPO. More deals will follow as Asia’s logistics industry consolidates.