Breakingviews

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.

U.S. probe forces Alibaba in the right direction

May 26, 2016

The Chinese e-commerce giant’s accounting is under investigation. Depending on the outcome, Alibaba may have to consolidate its loss-making logistics business. If the scrutiny helps shed light on some of the group’s many blind spots, investors will be better off.

China’s planners won’t let go of the stock market

May 12, 2016

Regulators are reportedly clamping down on fundraising in hot sectors, and may restrict overseas companies relisting at home. The desire to avoid a repeat of last year’s bubble is understandable. But China’s equity market won’t evolve as long as bureaucrats try to manage prices.

China listing doubts leave Qihoo investors on edge

May 11, 2016

The U.S.-listed web group’s shareholders have accepted a $9 bln buyout offer. Yet a regulatory crackdown may scupper plans to float in China. Even after a rebound the shares trade at an 8 pct discount. That’s scant compensation for the risk that the buyout group may walk away.

China’s new securities chief faces old constraints

February 22, 2016

Top regulator Xiao Gang has taken the blame for his fumbling efforts to prop up stocks, but he was only following orders. His replacement, former AgBank chairman Liu Shiyu, is unlikely to enjoy any more independence. China’s pledge to heed market forces remains on hold.

New index puts long-term investors to useful test

By Rob Cox
January 21, 2016

Fund heavyweights, including Canada’s CPP and GIC of Singapore, are committing $2 bln to round up some 250 stocks that meet higher standards of corporate governance and profitability. Alphabet and Facebook, worth $760 bln combined, miss the cut. That makes it a bold experiment.

China’s just-so growth no balm for slowdown fears

January 19, 2016

The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.9 pct last year, in line with government targets. The official picture of a gradual slowdown is at odds with market jitters. Yet the numbers do little to ease investors’ key concerns: yuan devaluation and the risk of a messy debt crisis.

China’s troubles catch Japan off-guard

January 12, 2016

Japan is highly sensitive to its larger neighbour’s economic health. Market turmoil is also strengthening the yen, threatening profit and prices. This could hardly come at a worse time: policymakers already battling deflation and stagnation have few levers left to pull.

China’s new economy most vulnerable to stock slide

January 8, 2016

Recent market jitters have dragged valuations for Shanghai-listed groups below their 10-year average. But the Shenzhen bourse, which is dominated by private sector firms, remains relatively expensive. A loss of confidence by retail investors risks choking more vibrant groups.