Breakingviews

 
Angela Merkel’s rhetoric on higher investment is shifting, but actual policy changes will remain symbolic. Perpetuating a balanced budget continues to be her government’s priority. That is misguided and harmful, but German voters seem to like that fundamentalist approach.

Alibaba's small IPO hike leaves room for believers

Boosting the maximum share price by 3 pct won’t affect appetite for the Chinese e-commerce giant’s $21 bln-plus offering. Investors appear more focused on Alibaba’s growth prospects than on governance risks. That points to a warm reception when it starts trading later this week.

Hedge-fund-free – the latest Californian fad?

Calpers, the $300 bln pension manager, is offloading its $4 bln of hedge funds. Too many in the 2-and-20 crowd look like stock pickers yet still present liquidity risks and, lately, low returns. Endowments are different, but for retirement funds Calpers could be setting a trend.

Why buybacks should be banned

Some share repurchases get Warren Buffett’s seal of approval. But the great investor is on the wrong track. Buybacks are really dividends by another name. The price doesn’t matter. Besides, the practice is unfair to some shareholders and to governments. The world would be better without them.

SAB/Heineken could leap antitrust hurdles

Heineken calls SABMiller’s bid approach “non-actionable.” Competition problems do exist in Europe, India, Africa and elsewhere. But these could be fixed and a $130 bln tie-up would create an emerging markets titan. The rebuff suggests family control is the real sticking point.

China data divides real and economic worlds

Industrial and investment data for August were poor. Yet job creation, wages and retail spending – which matter most for ordinary people – look solid. While that justifies inaction for now, it is naïve to think the two realms can remain separate. Real estate is the vital link.

Club Med auction returns to work refreshed

Legal action delayed a low-ball MBO by China’s Fosun last year. A counterbid by financier Andrea Bonomi has now forced Fosun to hike its offer to $1.1 bln. Shareholders in the French holiday group have been vindicated for refusing to throw in the towel.