Breakingviews

Alibaba’s new candour is overdue but welcome

June 15, 2016

The Chinese e-commerce giant has promised to shed more light on the financial performance of a range of businesses. That’s a relief for investors amid an accounting probe by U.S. regulators. A better-than-expected revenue forecast also helped ease concerns about slowing sales.

Microsoft’s CEO abandons prudence with LinkedIn

June 13, 2016

Satya Nadella’s $26 bln deal could reinvigorate the software giant’s slipping grip on corporate computer systems and employee interactions. Paying a 50 pct premium for a flawed business raises several red flags, however. Microsoft’s M&A record doesn’t inspire confidence, either.

Wheezing unicorns catching breath of fresh IPO air

June 6, 2016

Twilio, Nutanix and other $1 bln-plus tech startups risk running short of cash as venture capital starts to dry up. A recent revival of initial public offerings may offer them new hope. Company valuations may drop, but that beats the alternative of a suddenly thinning herd.

India’s smartphone giant eyes China role reversal

June 3, 2016

Micromax has bested Chinese rivals in its home market. To realise its lofty goal of being one of the world’s top five handset makers by 2020, it must succeed in the People’s Republic. Raising the fresh capital required might be the easiest part for the Indian firm.

Cox: Disruption flops will spare old-line targets

By Rob Cox
June 2, 2016

Venture capitalists have wagered on plenty of highly valued startups to destroy the established corporate order. But some so-called unicorns, probably including Theranos, will turn out to be mythical. A wave of “gluenicorns” would be good news for public companies under threat.

Salesforce fluffs up cloud business at a high cost

June 1, 2016

The online-software company agreed to pay $2.8 bln for e-commerce specialist Demandware. That may add some zing to slowing growth while boosting a heated rivalry with old-school Oracle. But the price includes a lofty premium of nine times estimated revenue, a sign of fog ahead.

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.

Time for Lenovo to get a grip in mobile

May 27, 2016

The tech giant is a trailblazer for Chinese firms going global by doing deals overseas and adopting Western governance. The ill-judged takeover of Motorola’s old mobile business is testing that reputation. Absent a quick turnaround, Lenovo’s credibility will take a real dent.

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.

Sony’s lowball forecasts are oddly reassuring

May 25, 2016

Shares rallied despite a profit outlook that fell below expectations. Setting $1 bln of quake damage aside, the Japanese group is faring well. Consoles are humming along, handsets are stabilising, and a duff project has been nixed quickly. Sony’s turnaround is almost complete.