Jack Ma paper chase is test of newsprint’s appeal

November 26, 2015

The Alibaba founder is interested in buying Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. The 112-year old title’s earnings are under pressure, and the financial logic looks thin. But as fellow e-commerce boss Jeff Bezos showed with the Washington Post, newspapers still have trophy value.

Facebook a master at hooking users on mobile habit

November 5, 2015

The social network reported more than 1 bln active daily visitors, a testament to its success in persuading people to check in on smartphones and tablets. Its reward was a 40 pct rise in ad revenue. Future growth may depend on pushing this kind of digital addiction.

Did Watson randomly generate IBM’s weather deal?

October 28, 2015

Big Blue’s purchase of the bulk of Weather Co assets carries no clear strategic logic or even a price tag. But it has created a golden opportunity for CEO Ginni Rometty to distract her long-suffering shareholders with a litany of buzzwords and hollow corporate speak.

Ad kickback scrutiny could embarrass agencies

October 22, 2015

The trade group for brands like P&G and McDonald’s – responsible for $250 bln a year in media spending – has hired investigators to review ad agency practices, including claims that rebates aren’t passed on to clients. The Mad Men are missing the chance to shape their own story.

Oprah’s diet-firm stake plumps up her pocketbook

October 19, 2015

The American talk-show queen is taking a 10 pct stake in Weight Watchers for $43 mln. By investing with her appetite, she follows in the footsteps of Warren Buffett, Victor Kiam and 50 Cent. Swapping corporate sponsorship fees for equity will also add heft to her wallet.

New Twitter CEO flaps with one wing behind back

October 5, 2015

Co-founder Jack Dorsey is now the micro-blogging site’s permanent boss. But he also leads payments service Square, which is considering an IPO later this year. Perhaps he can succeed at these two very demanding jobs. Twitter, though, has saddled its investors with a risky gamble.

Business Insider picks deep German pockets

September 29, 2015

Axel Springer is buying the business and tech news website at a $442 mln valuation. Nine times sales implies a long run of fast growth. It evokes Dresdner’s acquisition of Wasserstein Perella, a deal from the days when Business Insider boss Henry Blodget worked on Wall Street.

IMAX listing showcases China box office boom

September 23, 2015

The big-screen movie company is floating its Chinese unit at a valuation of up to $1.6 bln. The offering gives private equity backers an exit and helps lock in local partners. More importantly, it allows IMAX to show shareholders back home the value of mainland audiences.

Disney could use Time Warner cord-cutting tips

August 5, 2015

The entertainment giant insists on selling cable shows in a bundle, despite losses at ESPN attributable to growing viewer preference for buying à la carte. Time Warner is benefiting from the trend, offering HBO separately. A business built on TV’s status quo looks like fantasy.

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.