Breakingviews

Activist faces long odds to stop Baidu video deal

July 20, 2016

Acacia Partners objects to a bid from Baidu's CEO for the group's video unit. The U.S. fund is right to highlight potential conflicts of interest. But it is hard to see an activist victory here, given the boss's influence. Same goes for China's other internet giants.

Volatile Netflix could turn shorts’ binges to bust

July 19, 2016

The $42 bln streaming service's shares plunged 15 pct in late trading after Monday's weak earnings. That kind of move tempts those who bet on stocks falling. But Netflix's share price, which has multiplied 80-fold since its 2002 IPO, has spiked up nearly twice as often as down.

Pokemon GO hints mixed reality beats virtual kind

July 11, 2016

The mobile game where users capture imaginary creatures in the real world is a smash. Within a week of launch GO may have more users than Twitter. Entirely computer-simulated worlds get the attention, but overlaying the digital on the physical may be the disruptive killer app.

Vanke battle is test of China’s shareholder rules

July 7, 2016

The country's top property developer is fighting with major holder Baoneng. The spat has produced a $7 bln deal, a motion to dismiss the board, and suggestions big stakeholders are colluding. The outcome will show whether China's public markets are up to protecting investors.

China’s giant savings bank not as safe as it seems

July 6, 2016

One in three Chinese citizens has money in Postal Savings Bank of China. It has fewer loans to bloated state firms and fewer bad debts than rivals. But big holdings of bonds issued by other arms of the Chinese state – and increased dabbling in shadow finance – still pose risks.

HK has to pore over cement deal that came unstuck

July 4, 2016

West China Cement shares crashed just before a takeover by rival Anhui Conch fell over. That suggests the news leaked somehow. Hong Kong regulators have already clamped down on insider trading, long seen as a big problem in the territory. A fast, thorough investigation is needed.

Japan’s chat app IPO is more Twitter than WeChat

July 1, 2016

Messaging platform Line is going public with a valuation of up to $6.6 bln. Like Chinese rival WeChat, it has lured millions with games and virtual stickers. Yet its user base has stopped growing. Like Twitter, it must now try to squeeze more revenue out of those people.

Believe bonds not stocks on Brexit damage

June 30, 2016

Stocks have rebounded after the referendum, suggesting Britain’s prospects aren’t too grim. Yet falling gilt yields point to bleaker outcomes. In the absence of hard economic data, a post-vote slump in consumer morale supports the pessimistic thesis.

Jack Ma’s healthcare buyout is hard to stomach

June 9, 2016

The Alibaba boss’s buyout firm is bidding $1.4 bln-plus for U.S.-listed iKang. His minimum bid is 20 pct cheaper than an unfriendly approach from a rival, now dropped, which iKang’s CEO countered with a poison pill. Unless Ma pays more, outside investors will feel pretty icky.

SoftBank’s $8 bln Alibaba sale is late but prudent

June 1, 2016

Masayoshi Son’s tech and telecom conglomerate is offloading 4.2 pct of the Chinese e-commerce giant to pay down debt. The hugely successful investment is now more burden than blessing. As SoftBank takes a more disciplined approach to its portfolio, further disposals may follow.