Breakingviews

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.

Duracell jolt highlights the value of focus at P&G

October 24, 2014

Investors were energized by the consumer-goods giant’s plan to offload its struggling batteries arm. Spinning off a low-growth commodity business won’t create much value on its own. But it’s a solid step in boss A.G. Lafley’s campaign to simplify the sprawling $225 bln firm.

Philips lighting split is a bright idea

June 30, 2014

The Dutch conglomerate is restructuring again, moving high-powered LEDs and car lights into a standalone unit with 1.4 bln euros in sales. The business is fast-growing and would benefit from outside capital. Stepping out of the parent’s shadow should help.

Detroit turns bankruptcy precedents upside down

March 11, 2014

Motown’s plan for restructuring $18 bln of debt envisions paying equity holders – i.e. ordinary Detroiters – at the expense of secured creditors. This shareholder-friendly approach might save the city, and make Judge Rhodes a hometown hero. But markets may yet exact a price.

Hedge funds show banks how to recoup loans to Gulf

March 20, 2012

Bahraini investment house Arcapita has been forced to file for U.S. bankruptcy protection after pressure from non-bank creditors – a first in the region. That won’t end “extend and pretend” debt deals, but it may deliver one of the Gulf’s first effective restructurings.

Apax finds French twist on bankruptcy tourism

March 6, 2012

Buyout house Apax may use French law to weaken creditors’ hands in a debt restructuring. It is risky, and may draw accusations of opportunism. But this novel twist on the way continental companies relocate to the UK to use its bankruptcy law may appeal to other buyout firms.

Tyco sets new example for conglomerate bondholders

September 19, 2011

Shareholders appreciate a good breakup story and Tyco is giving them more to love. The industrial manufacturing group dismantled itself into three parts in 2007. Now, one of them, Tyco International, is being carved into three more pieces.

Stop the Dubai World, I want to get off

November 25, 2009

At long last, Dubai has admitted what has been obvious to everyone else for months: it can't pay its debts.

Bankruptcy best for overloaded JAL

November 25, 2009

Japan Airlines needs a new flight path. It has no hope of breaking even without jettisoning huge debts, massive pensions obligations and a bloated cost base. Even a last-minute deal with its pensioners will not solve its problems. JAL should opt for bankruptcy.