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Archived Since:June 19, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Perrigo shows danger of overplaying M&A defense

The $13 bln drug company fought off Mylan's hostile takeover bid last year. Now it's missing the targets it set to persuade investors to reject the deal. It's a common infraction that in Perrigo's case has prompted activist Starboard to dive in. Overpromising is a fool's errand.

Carney guessing game feeds bond market distortion

The Bank of England has revealed corporate bonds eligible for its 10 billion pound buying spree. Its requirement that companies make a material contribution to the country still throws up some anomalies. Second-guessing the central bank makes capital markets less efficient.

Postal bank’s $8 bln IPO scrapes through the door

Postal Savings Bank of China is roughly worth its trailing book value at the middle of the price range. SOE listings can't pass at a discount. But that's where rivals with higher returns trade. The bank's safer lending profile, and anchor investors, should stop logic taking hold.

Fertilizer duo bucks trend with $36 bln love-in

Canada's Potash and Agrium are combining in a merger of equals. It's a contrast to past industry mash-up attempts, which gave off a whiff of exuberance before collapsing. There's plenty for both sets of shareholders to like, assuming the deal clears antitrust hurdles.

Sugar can’t sweeten AB Foods’ retail slowdown

Sales are slowing at Primark, the fast-fashion chain that accounts for two-thirds of operating profit at the sugar-and-retail conglomerate. The weaker pound may hit the clothing chain's profitability next year. A widening pension deficit further sours AB Foods' prospects.

Samsung’s handset fires singe its brand

The tech giant is speeding up a recall of Galaxy Note 7 phones, after reports of fires and explosions, while airlines have banned in-air use. Samsung shares have fallen sharply. The immediate financial hit looks manageable but the reputational damage could be worse.

Viewsroom: Trump immigration plan deports $1 trln

The iPhone 7 may seem like an underwhelming upgrade, but it sets the company up well for the rise of augmented reality. Donald's Trump's plans to curb visas and send illegal immigrants home defy economic logic. And scandal-prone VW takes its truck ambitions stateside.

Private equity could regret scaling Capitol Hill

Buyout firms have successfully promoted legislation to roll back disclosures required under Dodd-Frank even as they settle cases over misleading investors. If the bill passes, however, there's a risk of repercussions. Washington critics may redouble efforts against the industry.

Britain’s grammar school plan gets 5 out of 10

Reintroducing selective schools won't necessarily fix the UK's two big problems: too-high inequality and too-low productivity. It fits, though, with an emerging trend of the state picking winners. Whether that works depends on the success of safeguards to protect the losers.

China tosses trading partners some import scraps

In August, for the first time in 22 months, imports turned positive. But most foreign exporters and China bashers can keep the bubbly on ice. The data's timing has a whiff of diplomacy. Beijing will keep its aggressive trade policies in place so long as they serve other goals.

Banks ask for Brexit clarity they can’t have

Big financial groups want Britain’s chancellor to say what kind of settlement he wants after an EU exit. That’s understandable: they want to make plans. But it wouldn’t be smart for Philip Hammond to be too specific ahead of what will essentially be a poker game with EU peers.

Mario takes Nintendo up a level in mobile gaming

Nintendo unexpectedly unveiled a Super Mario game at Apple's new phone launch. Following Pokemon's wild success, this confirms the Japanese group is no longer dragging its feet on reform and is ready to use top characters on mobile. It boosts the case for the new-look Nintendo.

Apple’s new iPhone is about eyes more than ears

Removal of the headphone jack has created most of the buzz. That and other new features in the latest iteration are enough to sell plenty of upgrades. A new camera, however, hints at Apple's ambitions in virtual and augmented reality, which could be the bigger temptation.

A $1 trln un-merger record that’s hard to beat

Even with two more U.S. mega-deals on the rocks, 2015 is set to retain the global M&A crown. There soon will come a year, though, which surpasses its $4.4 trln of activity. It's the record volume of withdrawn acquisitions in 1999 that's more likely to stand the test of time.

Minority investors should check the returns policy

Sports Direct's shareholders are being trampled by a strong entrepreneur with a 55 pct stake. Italian luxury brand Prada has a similar issue: entrenched founders whose strategy isn’t working. Big shareholders can benefit companies, but other investors end up stuck if things sour.

Rakuten jig highlights Japan’s warped benchmark

Shares of the shopping website leapt on news it would join the Nikkei 225. It shows the power of an arbitrary index weighted by share price instead of fundamentals like size or free float. The Bank of Japan's $60 bln-a-year push into index funds will only amplify the distortion.

VW jolt not enough to end Icahn trucking nightmare

The investor's 20 pct stake in Navistar got a boost from the troubled U.S. manufacturer's partnership with the German giant. Five years agitating for change has yielded nothing for Icahn or fellow activist owners. The stock needs to rise by half again just for him to break even.

Fox settlements another price for poor governance

Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox settled a high-profile lawsuit against former TV boss Roger Ailes as accusations of his sexual peccadilloes snowball. Like the phone-hacking scandal in the UK, it's a result of lax oversight abetted by a dual-class share structure.

Global leaders test limits of spreading wealth

“Inclusion” was the buzzword at the G20 conflab. A fairer distribution of the fruits of growth is urgent when globalisation is under attack in the West. The challenge for politicians is to reduce inequality within rich countries without the rest of the world suffering.

DoCoMo spat adds odd twist to India scare stories

The Japanese telco is struggling to enforce a London arbitration award ordering Tata Sons to pay it $1.2 bln. Tata says it wants to pay. India refuses to approve. Despite a slew of reforms, high-profile legacy disputes with foreign firms hurt the idea India is open for business.

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