Hyatt’s M&A fail is small win for good governance

November 17, 2015

The U.S. hotelier lost to Marriott in the $12 bln takeover of Starwood. One factor was the Pritzker family’s tight grip on Hyatt. It conceded the flaw by offering to alter its super-voting share scheme in the bid. The rejection provides a warning to other feudal companies.

Financial vacancy at new Marriott-Starwood inn

November 16, 2015

The $12 bln merger would create the world’s biggest hotelier. Marriott boss Arne Sorenson touts value creation, but the stated $200 mln in cost savings won’t cover the premium his company is paying. Starwood owners also initially reacted unhappily. The deal is looking defensive.

Expedia finds back door to Airbnb’s market

November 5, 2015

The travel site is paying $3.9 bln for HomeAway. Though the vacation-rental firm lacks the urban clout of its better-known rival, moving in with its new parent will help. Cost cuts are low, but HomeAway’s cash pile will ease the blow to Expedia of shelling out a 28 pct premium.

China box office boom loses movie magic up close

October 21, 2015

Moviegoers are a rare bright spot in a slowing economy: ticket sales are on track to hit $6.4 bln this year, up more than 36 percent on 2014. But heavy discounts from cinemas and online sites are inflating sales. Growth may not be as stellar as it appears.

TripAdvisor’s Priceline deal leaves rivals in dust

October 14, 2015

The travel review site had plenty of users but its dependence on advertising made it an internet laggard. Sharing business with the hotel-booking powerhouse gives it fee revenue and a shot to become a one-stop tourist site. Peers are quickly receding in the rearview mirror.

Oracle deal provides partly cloudy forecast

June 23, 2014

In a way the $5.3 bln deal for Micros is a relief for shareholders. Even if it’s the start of an M&A binge, it’s not at a crazy valuation. Then again, longtime partner Micros is more an add-on than a way to supercharge Oracle’s effort in the cloud. That challenge remains for now.

Priceline’s OpenTable buy is costly appetizer

June 13, 2014

The $64 bln online travel outfit is paying a 46 pct premium – $2.6 bln in cash – to snag the restaurant reservation site. Each helps small businesses and customers find each other. But the tariff only makes sense if Priceline can plug many more of both into OpenTable worldwide.

Italian disaster will hardly slow cruise industry

January 16, 2012

The sinking reflects badly on a $34 bln business which has grown 8 pct a year for two decades. It will cost the trade more than operator Carnival’s $85-$95 mln estimate. But the industry – and passengers – will come back. One tragedy will not reverse a well-established trend.

Lululemon’s downward dog gnaws at yoga bubble

June 8, 2012

The $9 bln maker of pricey sweatpants rattled investors’ chakras by warning of slower than expected sales and profit growth. Yoga may still be one of the world’s fastest-growing forms of exercise, but Lululemon’s stretched valuation is more about fashion than yogi proliferation.

Disney chief’s unlikely fairy godfather: Murdoch

November 21, 2012

With News Corp snapping up a piece of the Yankees TV network, Bob Iger’s battle with Rupert Murdoch is becoming more intense. But News Corp’s rich price for the deal implies a punchy valuation for Disney’s much-coveted ESPN. That could make the whole Magic Kingdom worth more.