Breakingviews

Ousted CEO shows risks of SoftBank startup splurge

July 2, 2015

Indian property site Housing.com has fired founder Rahul Yadav six months after the Japanese conglomerate became its largest shareholder. The 26 year-old was a liability and had to go. Still, it’s a reminder of the perils of listed companies making venture capital investments.

Rob Cox: Uber gets a pass on its Wall Street habit

June 30, 2015

Big banks break rules and pay fines. Traditionally it’s just a cost of doing business. Uber, meanwhile, pays fines when drivers violate regulations that stand in the way of its business model. Nowadays banks attract outrage, but Uber is often forgiven in the name of disruption.

WeWork stretches sharing-economy valuations

June 26, 2015

The groovy provider of office space - and beer - to millennial workers is now worth $10 bln after its latest funding round, doubling in just six months. WeWork is growing fast, but based on established rivals’ metrics earnings would need to jump 15-fold to justify that price tag.

Return to China tough for American orphan stocks

June 12, 2015

Soaring home markets are prompting Chinese companies to delist from U.S. exchanges. The likes of social network Renren and data centre group 21Vianet may hope for higher valuations in China. But rigid rules make mainland listings harder. Only the unloved will attempt the journey.

SoftBank’s $1 bln Korean deal needs to travel well

June 4, 2015

The Japanese giant has added a stake in South Korea’s Coupang to its portfolio. It’s a big bet on a young company in a relatively small country. The online retailer is leading the shift to mobile shopping. SoftBank may need to export its expertise to justify the investment.

Avago offers textbook case for chip consolidation

May 28, 2015

The serial acquirer is buying semiconductor rival Broadcom for more than $36 bln. Cost cuts should just about cover the 30 pct premium. Avago’s track record, the cash-and-stock mix and the logic of industry mergers all add up, too. Only an interloper could spoil the party.

SoftBank lives up to its name with Indian startup

May 19, 2015

Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav is a venture capital nightmare. The 26 year-old has slammed investors including the Japanese group as intellectually incapable and pledged to give away his shares. SoftBank may value a reputation for being founder-friendly, but being weak is worse.

India online retail hierarchy looks far from fixed

May 14, 2015

Investors are pouring money into the country searching for the next Alibaba or Amazon. Though India’s e-commerce opportunity is huge, low barriers to entry mean it is easy for anyone with deep pockets to spoil the party.

Rob Cox: Parsing the short life of Dave Goldberg

May 12, 2015

The untimely death of the CEO of startup SurveyMonkey sparked an unusual outpouring of emotion from Silicon Valley. His age and marital affiliation can only explain part of the response. The worrisome message is that nice guys really are too rare a breed in the tech ecosystem.

Verizon’s dumb pipes no smarter with $4.4 bln AOL

May 12, 2015

Seeking refuge from a vicious wireless war, the telecom carrier is buying the owner of the Huffington Post and old internet dial-up customers. The video ad tech business may be the prize, but it faces threats from Google and others. This is just another silly deal involving AOL.