Breakingviews

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.

The Economist’s elite owners seek elite print run

July 28, 2015

The Agnellis, the Rothschilds, et al may buy more as Pearson sells. A 6 pct dividend yield has appeal. If the valuation – recently 730 mln stg – and payout are to keep rising, however, the weekly has to succeed where other publications have failed and turn its top line around.

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.

BBC needs good pruning, not root-and-branch change

July 16, 2015

UK lawmakers are questioning the broadcaster's remit. Its 3.7 bln stg pseudo-state funding is anticompetitive. But while the BBC, like the monarchy and NHS, comes from another era, reformers need to be careful. A "bonsai" BBC – smaller and stronger – might be worth cultivating.

Univision’s IPO could be just a warm-up act

By Guest Contributor
July 7, 2015

Private equity backers are finally floating the fast-growing, debt-laden U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster. Univision would make a nice fit for Disney, Time Warner or CBS. A full sale, however, may wait until the valuation – and minority owner Televisa’s position – is clearer.

Rupert Murdoch’s step back propels dynasty forward

June 11, 2015

The octogenarian mogul is starting to hand off the Fox media empire to his two sons. Ceding the CEO title to James and making Lachlan an executive chairman should rile non-Murdoch shareholders, who routinely snub the brothers. Chase Carey’s exit crowns the royal succession.

Beware a bluff from poker-playing Dish boss

June 4, 2015

Charlie Ergen would be making a bold bet by merging his $35 bln U.S. satellite operator with similarly-sized wireless provider T-Mobile US. Given the spectrum Dish has accumulated, a deal could make sense. Ergen has proven wily, though, and plays his cards very carefully.

Focus Media sets tone for China’s shifting market

June 3, 2015

The Chinese advertising firm’s reverse listing in Shenzhen values it at $7.4 bln, twice what it was delisted for in New York two years ago. Dizzying valuations have reduced the appeal of foreign markets. For those with a taste for financial engineering, the door is now ajar.

Bloomberg outage highlights another bank weakness

April 17, 2015

The financial network’s global downtime may have been a problem only for the very rich – and a boon for City pubs. But it prompted the Bank of England to remind banks it’s there as a lender of last resort, raising questions about traders’ heavy reliance on a few fallible systems.