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Sep 16, 2014
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Alibaba’s small IPO hike leaves room for believers

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By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Pricing initial public offerings is an inexact science. Predicting how investors will value a large, fast-growing Chinese e-commerce group involves even more guesswork. That makes Alibaba’s decision to lift the maximum price for its upcoming stock market debut by just $2 a share to $68 puzzling.

Sep 12, 2014
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Best defence against short-sellers is to buy stock

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By Peter Thal Larsen 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Short-sellers of Chinese companies are back, and shadier than ever. In the past few weeks, two anonymous groups have trained their critical sights on Tianhe Chemicals, a Hong Kong-listed group, and Nasdaq-listed 21Vianet. Executives have tried to dispel doubts about their financial statements while railing against mysterious critics. But they haven’t yet tried the most effective riposte to those betting on a lower stock price: buying more shares.

Sep 10, 2014
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Botin’s swashbuckling hid a conservative streak

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By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Emilio Botin transformed Santander from regional Spanish lender into global giant. He was a merger mastermind who usually got the upper hand. With slicked-back hair and red tie, he flew in a private jet, conferring with presidents and prime ministers as easily as bankers and chief executives. Yet unlike many of his peers during European banking’s boom years, Botin also had a cautious streak. It is that, rather than his swashbuckling style, which allowed him to keep his grip on Santander until his death at the age of 79.

Sep 2, 2014
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Six steps to Alibaba’s twelve-figure valuation

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By Peter Thal Larsen 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

How do you value a tech company? What about a dominant, fast-growing, profitable tech company with no peers that operates in an opaque economy? Fund managers need to decide as Alibaba kicks off the roadshow for its long-awaited initial public offering. Breakingviews offers a six-step guide to sizing up China’s biggest e-commerce group.

Sep 1, 2014
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Democracy snub leaves Hong Kong only bad choices

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By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Hong Kong’s narrowing options over future leadership elections could have broad repercussions. Voters in the former colony face only bad choices after Beijing proposed a tightly controlled system for choosing its chief executive. The decision escalates the risk of a showdown with protestors. It also suggests China’s leaders care ever less about the rest of the world’s opinion.

Aug 22, 2014
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Asia’s reform spotlight swings to Indonesia

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By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The election of a fresh, charismatic leader fuels hopes for overdue change. After Japan and India, Asia’s reform spotlight has swung to Indonesia. Joko Widodo’s rise to the presidency invites comparisons with Narendra Modi in India and even Japan’s Shinzo Abe. The challenges facing Widodo – widely known as Jokowi – are more daunting. But the rewards for faster reform could be large.

Aug 13, 2014
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Alibaba payments cleanup makes for neater IPO

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By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Alibaba just can’t stop tinkering with its corporate structure. Weeks before the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut is due to start a roadshow for an initial public offering, it has tidied up relations with its payments affiliate. Though the new arrangement is still messier than shareholders might want, it should make for a neater IPO.

Aug 12, 2014
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Aircraft leasing flies back into vogue in Asia

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By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Aircraft leasing is flying back into vogue in Asia. Many Western groups jettisoned the business of buying and renting out planes after the financial crisis. Now China’s sovereign wealth fund and tycoon Li Ka-shing are considering climbing on board. Strong forecast demand for aircraft explains the appeal – as long as finance is cheap and reliable.

Aug 8, 2014
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Malaysia throws airline investors a parachute

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By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Malaysia has thrown shareholders in its troubled airline a parachute. The country’s state investment fund is offering 1.4 billion ringgit ($436 million) to take Malaysian Airline System private. The deal gives investors a price the company’s shares haven’t closed at since February, before the already-ailing carrier was struck by double disasters. Taxpayers and employees may be less fortunate.

Aug 6, 2014
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SoftBank’s U.S. mobile retreat is least bad option

By Peter Thal Larsen 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Masayoshi Son has been forced to scale back his mobile phone ambitions in the United States. The chief executive of Japan’s SoftBank has belatedly bowed to hostile regulators and abandoned plans for his Sprint unit’s $32 billion takeover of T-Mobile US. He has chosen the least bad option.

    • About Peter

      "Peter is Assistant Editor of Reuters Breakingviews, based in London. He oversees coverage of financial services and regulation. Prior to joining Reuters, Peter spent 10 years at the Financial Times. From 2004 to 2009 he was the FT’s banking editor, leading the paper’s award-winning coverage of global banking during the credit crunch. Between 2000 and 2004 Peter reported for the FT from New York. He played a leading role in the paper’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. A Dutch national, Peter has degrees from Bristol University and the London School of Economics."
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