Breakingviews

Samsung investors learn the benefit of family ties

December 9, 2015

The heir to South Korea’s top conglomerate has pledged to backstop troubled Samsung Engineering’s $1 bln rights issue. Jay Y. Lee may avoid reaching into his own pocket. Yet for investors, it’s a reminder that being part of a larger group has benefits as well as drawbacks.

Another reckoning looms for Sharp

December 2, 2015

Lenders have bailed out the embattled Japanese electronics firm twice in the past three years. A more radical overhaul now looks likely – perhaps involving state-backed fund INCJ and affiliate Japan Display. If credit markets are right, there is little value for shareholders.

Playground weaklings give Li Ka-shing bloody nose

November 25, 2015

Hong Kong shareholders rejected the tycoon’s $12.4 bln bid to merge his listed energy and infrastructure units. It’s another sign institutions in the Chinese territory are increasingly willing to exercise their limited powers. Companies can no longer take support for granted.

Malaysia remains fragile despite China power deal

November 24, 2015

Troubled sovereign fund 1MDB will sell power assets to China’s CGN for $2.3 bln. To resolve its debt woes, the investor still needs to execute a larger bailout deal with Abu Dhabi. Even then, graft probes will keep up the pressure on Malaysia’s prime minister and the currency.

Deutsche Bank’s shake-up puts stick before carrot

October 19, 2015

Four top executives, including co-head of investment banking Colin Fan, are leaving amid a split of the German lender’s securities and asset-gathering businesses. It should address past failings and improve future accountability. The next task: making sure the good people stay.

Samsung win is bittersweet for ruling Lee family

July 17, 2015

A $9 bln intergroup merger was narrowly passed, despite opposition led by Elliott. That helps the family’s succession planning. But the U.S. activist may fight on. And the spat shows South Korea’s largest conglomerate is vulnerable to restive shareholders as it restructures.

Elliott buys new stick to beat Samsung

July 7, 2015

The activist fund has a new lever to oppose the South Korean group’s ruling Lee family over a $9 bln merger. Buying stakes in two more group firms probably ups Elliott’s total outlay on Samsung by more than a quarter. This makes the fight more complex – and perhaps uglier.

Hardball Samsung move sets up chaebol reform test

June 11, 2015

Samsung C&T has sold a 6 pct stake to a friendly party to neuter opponents of its $10 bln merger with the South Korean conglomerate’s holding company. Official reaction to the underhand maneouvre will show whether the country really wants to rein in its large corporations.

Li Ka-shing converts to shareholder value religion

January 12, 2015

Asia’s richest man is splitting his empire in two: a property company, and everything else. The reshuffle should help shrink the conglomerate discount while allowing Li to leverage up in real estate. It’s an overdue recognition there is value to unlock in the $85 billion empire.

Samsung IPO offers ringside seat for restructuring

November 26, 2014

The South Korean conglomerate’s de facto holding company is an odd mix. Cheil Industries operates theme parks but most of its value is in a stake in an insurer. For those seeking exposure to Samsung’s wider shake-up, the $1.4 bln IPO is a way to get close to its heir apparent.