Una's Feed
Nov 26, 2014
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Samsung IPO offers ringside seat for restructuring

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By Una Galani

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

Samsung is offering the ultimate ringside seat for its big restructuring. As the South Korean conglomerate reshuffles assets ahead of a transfer of power within the controlling Lee family, the initial public offering of its de facto holding company is drawing interest. Cheil Industries is an odd mishmash of assets. Yet for investors, the $1.4 billion IPO is a way to get up close and personal with the group’s heir apparent.

Oct 31, 2014
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Hong Kong protests lay minefield for business

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By Una Galani

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

Hong Kong’s protesters have laid a minefield for big business. The city’s democracy debate is a deeply divisive issue. For companies, keeping quiet is less risky than expressing an opinion guaranteed to irk customers and staff or strain relations with Beijing. It’s even harder for individual employees who must tread a blurry line between free speech and corporate interests.

Oct 21, 2014
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Hong Kong tycoons can be part of protest solution

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By Una Galani

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

Hong Kong’s tycoons could be part of ending the standoff with pro-democracy activists. The city’s business leaders have an outsize influence over local politics. Relaxing their grip on special corporate votes could ease divisions over electoral reform as well as tensions over rampant inequality.

Oct 7, 2014
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Jumbo $6 bln bank IPO shows Saudi too big to miss

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By Una Galani

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

Saudi Arabia’s jumbo bank offering shows the soon-to-open emerging market is too good to miss. The kingdom’s top lender by assets is planning to sell shares worth $6 billion, making it the biggest-ever initial public offering in the Middle East and second only to China’s Alibaba in the world this year. For most outsiders, it’s a reminder of the opportunities that will open up when foreign investors are granted direct access to the country’s $584 billion stock market next year.

Sep 29, 2014
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SoftBank and Shrek may lack on-screen chemistry

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By Una Galani

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

SoftBank’s acquisition strategy is nothing if not animated, but it’s not always easy to see a clear plot. The Japanese conglomerate’s next move could be a bid for DreamWorks Animation worth $3.4 billion, according to The Hollywood Reporter. SoftBank’s giant balance sheet could easily absorb the hit and miss earnings of film production. Yet with each big buy, it becomes less clear how the group’s parts fit together.

Sep 24, 2014
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Starbucks avoids froth in $913 mln Japan buyout

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By Una Galani

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

Starbucks Corp. has served up a grande Japanese buyout without any froth. The U.S. coffee chain is buying the 60.5 percent of its listed local unit that it doesn’t already own for around $913 million – a discount to its market value. Expiring franchise license agreements give Starbucks Corp. a rare chance to take full control of its business in the world’s third-largest economy on the cheap – as long as minority shareholders don’t put up a fight.

Sep 22, 2014
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Alibaba IPO highlights SoftBank’s value dilemma

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By Una Galani

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

Alibaba’s runaway initial public offering has turned the spotlight back onto SoftBank’s valuation dilemma. Following the Chinese e-commerce group’s successful New York listing, the Japanese conglomerate’s 32 percent stake eclipses the value of its other businesses. The 5 percent drop in SoftBank’s shares on the morning of Sept. 22 is a reminder the investment is both blessing and burden.

Sep 19, 2014
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Australia at sharp end of China outbound ambition

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By Una Galani

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

The most surprising thing about a walk through central Sydney is China. Its influence is everywhere. Activists protest 1989’s Tiananmen Square massacre near the Sydney Opera House. A bilingual Mandarin school is under construction in the affluent Chatswood district. And the effect of Chinese money on the property market has become a dinner party favorite.

Sep 10, 2014
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Rakuten’s $1bln U.S. buy stretches loyalty logic

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By Una Galani

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

Rakuten’s latest acquisition stretches loyalty logic. Buying U.S. cash back site Ebates for $1 billion will help Japan’s largest e-commerce group beef up abroad. It also underscores Rakuten’s determination to use loyalty schemes to distinguish itself from rivals like eBay and China’s Alibaba. Yet, as with Rakuten’s other recent chunky deals, it’s unclear how all the parts fit together.

Sep 8, 2014
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Aussie privatisation push makes for buyer’s market

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By Una Galani

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

Australia’s privatisation push is creating a buyer’s market. State governments are being encouraged to divest their infrastructure holdings. The assets on the block, which include everything from ports to electricity networks, could be worth A$100 billion ($93 billion), according to Infrastructure Australia. That’s equal to almost three-quarters of the total value of mergers and acquisitions involving an Australian target over the past two years. A lack of coordination between states could leave laggards with lousy valuations.

    • About Una

      "Una Galani is Asia Corporate Finance Columnist of Reuters Breakingviews, based in Hong Kong. She spent three years in Dubai covering the region’s economies in the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring. Previously, Una wrote on capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and telecoms across Europe from London. She was commended in the category of Young Financial Journalist at the Harold Wincott Awards for 2009 after joining Breakingviews in 2006. Una read English Literature at Oxford. Follow Una on Twitter @ugalani"
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