India online retail hierarchy looks far from fixed

May 14, 2015

Investors are pouring money into the country searching for the next Alibaba or Amazon. Though India’s e-commerce opportunity is huge, low barriers to entry mean it is easy for anyone with deep pockets to spoil the party.

Ahold-Delhaize is a 25 bln euro deal full of hope

May 11, 2015

The shares of both Dutch-listed grocer and its potential Belgian-listed target were up strongly on reports of renewed merger negotiations. A combination of the two U.S.-centric companies makes sense. But financing could be an issue, and the American market will still be tough.

Tesco’s new beginnings are a long way from the end

April 22, 2015

Last year’s 6.4 bln stg pretax loss shows the size of the problems at Britain’s biggest grocer. A 45 pct share price rebound since December reflects hope that Dave Lewis, the newish CEO, will restore the retailer’s former glory. Investors are taking a great deal on trust.

Philips earns credibility with lighting selloff

March 31, 2015

The Dutch group sold 80 pct of its lighting components unit for $2.8 bln. An Asian tech fund paid a surprisingly high 1.65 times last year’s sales. Buyout firms’ hunger for corporate cast-offs helped lift the price. A bigger test looms: splitting off the main lights business.

U.S. mega-mall deal features bazaar tactics

March 18, 2015

Macerich rejected an unsolicited $22 bln takeover bid from larger rival Simon Property. The suitor’s touted 30 pct premium may really be worth less. Even so, the target’s decision to shield itself by undoing good corporate governance is the more disingenuous haggling move.

Inditex shares no longer a bargain

March 18, 2015

The Zara owner’s stock has risen more than 20 percent this year. The weakening euro is an advantage over rival H&M. The Spanish recovery and the group’s nimble business model justify a premium valuation. But at more than 30 times earnings, the good news is already in the shares.

Clock ticks for Swatch in Apple Watch challenge

March 17, 2015

Swatch CEO Nick Hayek is sanguine about the tech giant’s attempt to disrupt time. Yet he faces tricky options: lock horns with Tim Cook in a smartwatch war, or move upmarket where Apple will struggle to compete on craftsmanship. Swatch doesn’t look primed for either.

Japan retail deal gets M&A process back-to-front

March 11, 2015

Convenience stores FamilyMart and UNY have set a date for their $5.4 bln tie-up, but haven’t agreed key terms. It’s another sign of the complexities of dealmaking in a country where big domestic mergers are rare. No wonder investors are worried the union will destroy value.

Mall king’s $22 bln bid tests its hostile nature

March 9, 2015

A frustrated Simon Property unveiled a bear-hug offer to buy smaller rival Macerich. The top U.S. shopping center owner has used similar tactics many times before, with mixed results. The structure of the real estate industry tends to require aggression but it also can backfire.

Alibaba’s split nationalities invite trouble

March 3, 2015

Taiwan wants to boot the e-commerce group out for not declaring itself Chinese. Yet Alibaba’s home changes depending on who asks. China’s taxman sees Hong Kong, licensing bodies see China, and investors see the Cayman Islands. The confusion may encourage regulatory meddling.