Breakingviews

Tesco’s global hopes can survive Korea sale

September 4, 2015

Britain’s biggest grocer is close to selling its supermarkets in South Korea, reports say. The mooted 4.3 bln stg proceeds would cut net debt in half and relieve operational headaches. Yet an exit need not be the end of Tesco’s international ambitions.

Alibaba still looks pricey despite selloff

August 25, 2015

Less than a year after its $25 bln offering, the web giant’s shares have fallen below their $68 IPO price. Growth worries have afflicted all technology stocks and Chinese ones in particular. But Alibaba’s core e-commerce business is still highly valued compared with its rivals.

Edward Hadas: Amazon’s ultra-XY management style

By Edward Hadas
August 19, 2015

The retail giant denies running a cruelly competitive workplace. But when a super-charged inspirational management style collides with an excessively discipline-centred one, impossible expectations of what staff can achieve become normal. Fortunately, the mix is unlikely to last.

Indian e-tailer’s funds will disappear in a flash

August 19, 2015

Online marketplace Snapdeal is raising $500 mln from investors led by Alibaba and Foxconn valuing it at $5 bln. Securing more big-name backers is a coup for the Indian start-up. But the huge discounts it offers to lure buyers and sellers means the new funds won’t last long.

John Malone takes home shopping over the top

August 17, 2015

Buying Zulily, a flash-sale site for moms, would increase online revenue at the cable mogul’s QVC broadcast arm from about 40 pct to half. The target’s growth is already slowing quickly, however. And at $2.4 bln, or 38 times EBITDA, the deal reveals the high cost of chasing Amazon.

Alibaba’s golden-child status hangs by a thread

August 12, 2015

The Chinese e-commerce group’s disappointing quarterly revenue growth pushed the shares close to last year’s float price. Investors haven’t much challenged founder Jack Ma’s free rein so far. A weakening business and over $100 bln of lost market capitalisation may change that.

Breakdown: What’s driving China’s latest web boom?

July 20, 2015

The newest buzzword is O2O, or “online to offline”. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are racing to connect half a billion smartphone users to local services, from taxis to takeaways. There’s huge growth – but this is an expensive battle. Breakingviews offers a download.

Hudson’s Bay wangles way back to Teutonic roots

June 15, 2015

The Canadian owner of U.S. store Saks – once an English company headed by a German – has the best of a $3 bln deal to buy Cologne-based retailer Kaufhof. Offloading real estate will help it finance the trade. It also gives Hudson’s Bay a cushion against old world risks.

Tesco’s South Korean unit stacks up for a buyout

June 9, 2015

A disposal for around $6 bln would do much to fix the British grocer’s strained balance sheet. Tesco might not miss the Korean earnings that much either. It’s hard to see trade buyers bidding up the price. But it presents a rare opportunity for private equity in Asia.

Jack Ma turns Reorient into free-money factory

June 1, 2015

The Alibaba founder’s fund is among investors taking control of the Hong Kong investment firm. Though their plans are vague, the shares promptly soared, handing the new owners a $5 billion-plus paper gain. It’s another example of Ma’s involvement creating value from thin air.