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.

South Korea might need stronger medicine than QE

July 23, 2015

The slowest quarterly GDP growth in six years points to a malaise deeper than a virus outbreak. A weaker currency can help with faltering exports, but it won’t free households from a debt trap. A bold cocktail of tax breaks, rebates and money-printing might be more effective.

Samsung clan could call on mobile unit next

July 22, 2015

Investors may wonder how Samsung Electronics fits into the plans of the Lee family behind the South Korean chaebol. A rejig of the $180 bln smartphone giant could spur higher dividends. But the Lees’ recent win against Elliott suggest independent shareholders may suffer first.

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.

Samsung-Elliott showdown will shake up South Korea

July 13, 2015

This week’s vote on Samsung’s $9 bln intergroup merger will be tight. Defeat at the hands of the U.S. hedge fund could usher in a new era of corporate governance. Even if the vote passes, big conglomerates will tread more carefully with independent shareholders in future.

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.

South Korean M&A quirks hold perils for investors

June 24, 2015

A $9.2 bln merger led by Samsung’s holding company has cast a spotlight on the country’s peculiar stock market rules. The dealmaking shows the limits of measures designed to protect independent investors and how the wider system is stacked in favour of the chaebols.

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.

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.

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.