Breakingviews

Alibaba still looks pricey despite selloff

August 25, 2015

Less than a year after its $25 bln offering, the web giant’s shares have fallen below their $68 IPO price. Growth worries have afflicted all technology stocks and Chinese ones in particular. But Alibaba’s core e-commerce business is still highly valued compared with its rivals.

SoftBank’s hired gun takes high road to ownership

August 20, 2015

Nikesh Arora will invest $483 million in the Japanese tech group, cementing his place as successor to founder Masayoshi Son. It’s a refreshing change from the complex awards handed out by many U.S. companies. It should also help the ex-Googler push through more bold investments.

Indian e-tailer’s funds will disappear in a flash

August 19, 2015

Online marketplace Snapdeal is raising $500 mln from investors led by Alibaba and Foxconn valuing it at $5 bln. Securing more big-name backers is a coup for the Indian start-up. But the huge discounts it offers to lure buyers and sellers means the new funds won’t last long.

John Malone takes home shopping over the top

August 17, 2015

Buying Zulily, a flash-sale site for moms, would increase online revenue at the cable mogul’s QVC broadcast arm from about 40 pct to half. The target’s growth is already slowing quickly, however. And at $2.4 bln, or 38 times EBITDA, the deal reveals the high cost of chasing Amazon.

Lenovo turnaround will take more than cost-cutting

August 13, 2015

The electronics group will slash $1.35 bln from annual expenses after falling PC sales and slowing smartphone demand halved its quarterly earnings. That may halt losses at the Motorola unit Lenovo bought for $2.9 bln last year. But any return to growth depends on a demand pickup.

Alibaba’s golden-child status hangs by a thread

August 12, 2015

The Chinese e-commerce group’s disappointing quarterly revenue growth pushed the shares close to last year’s float price. Investors haven’t much challenged founder Jack Ma’s free rein so far. A weakening business and over $100 bln of lost market capitalisation may change that.

Symantec’s Veritas sale tells truth about tech M&A

August 11, 2015

Offloading the data storage business for $8 bln to Carlyle and Singapore’s GIC ends a decade-long disaster of a deal. Like HP, eBay, Microsoft and others, Symantec discovered it’s often harder to buy than build. Trouble is, breakups and writedowns tend to perpetuate the problem.

Twitter’s mealy-mouthed strategy is hard to follow

July 29, 2015

Interim boss Jack Dorsey said the micro-blogging site isn’t satisfied with just a 66 pct increase in Q2 revenue. His prescription for what ails Twitter, however, is cryptic. Companies that can’t express goals clearly, especially ones seeking a CEO, reduce chances for success.

Apple has time on its side

July 21, 2015

The iPhone’s frenetic Chinese growth powered a 33 pct rise in revenue. Marginally softened forecasts for the next few months nevertheless knocked $50 bln off Apple’s value. Minimal information about Watch sales also disappointed. A little patience, however, will go a long way.

Breakdown: What’s driving China’s latest web boom?

July 20, 2015

The newest buzzword is O2O, or “online to offline”. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are racing to connect half a billion smartphone users to local services, from taxis to takeaways. There’s huge growth – but this is an expensive battle. Breakingviews offers a download.