Una's Feed
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.

Aug 27, 2014
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Aggressive M&A puts focus on Thai tycoon’s empire

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By Una Galani

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

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s appetite for deals has put his sprawling empire in focus. The Thai drinks-to-property tycoon is eyeing more acquisitions on top of the $3.3 billion his companies have spent this year. Investors have already given a poor reception to his most recent deals. A pick’n’mix approach to public markets may explain some of their doubts.

Aug 25, 2014
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Asia’s top-down corporate reforms vary in promise

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By Una Galani

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

Asia is in the throes of a top-down corporate reform drive. Newish leaders in China, India, South Korea and Japan are pushing to overhaul the way companies work. Their efforts to increase corporate efficiency are welcome. But investors eyeing better returns will find not all reforms are equal.

Aug 18, 2014
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Fear is key to Ebola’s economic contagion

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By Una Galani

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

Fear is key to the economic contagion of Ebola. The gruesome disease that has claimed 1,145 lives in parts of Africa has yet to travel beyond that region’s borders. But Asia’s crisis with severe respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 showed what might happen if it does. Changes to behaviour hurt growth and productivity more than the actual disease.

Aug 12, 2014
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Aussie bid battle questions wine’s standalone case

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By Una Galani

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

Wine may age better in the cellar than on the stock market. A bid battle for Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates – the only big listed producer – has called into question the case for standalone wine companies. The maker of Penfolds could be better-managed but a fragmented market and low brand loyalty also suggests the fruit of the vine may not be suitable for public company treatment.

    • 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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