Edition:
United Kingdom

Alec Macfarlane

Breakingviews - AB InBev’s Asia sale needs breathalyser test

14 Jan 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Anheuser-Busch InBev executives who hope for a $70 billion valuation for their Asia business deserve to have their breath tested. The Belgian brewer is considering an initial public offering of part of the unit, Reuters reported on Friday. The region is a fast-growing jewel in AB InBev’s crown, but it faces stiff competition in China, and has struggled in India and Southeast Asia. That makes the mooted price tag tough to swallow.

Breakingviews - ByteDance will take over B in China’s BAT

28 Dec 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - ByteDance would add some oomph to China’s BAT. The fast-growing creator of news and video apps is already privately valued at $75 billion, putting it on par with web search outfit Baidu, whose public equity in early December was worth some $65 billion. A 2019 merger between the two will modify the constituent parts of the acronym shared with Alibaba and Tencent.

Breakingviews - L'Occitane buyout could be a fragrant option

28 Nov 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - L'Occitane could prove a fragrant option for private equity suitors. The Provence-inspired soap-and-skincare brand has struggled of late, in part because of a costly expansion. But a clean balance sheet, prospects in China and a resolutely unglamorous share price suggest an alluring makeover target.

Breakingviews - SoftBank turns to dividends to dial up IPO appeal

13 Nov 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - SoftBank is turning to dividends to dial up the appeal for its Japanese mobile unit. Masayoshi Son’s conglomerate wants to raise as much as $23 billion with an initial public offering due later this month. That implies a chunky premium to its rivals, and leans on generous payouts too. A looming price war will make it difficult, though, to keep up promises to hand out almost twice as much of its earnings as the likes of NTT Docomo and KDDI.

Breakingviews - SoftBank mobile IPO calls for bullish Mrs Watanabe

12 Nov 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - SoftBank’s mobile phone unit could be worth around $70 billion when it floats, according to Bloomberg. Selling more than a third of the stock would make its initial public offering the biggest on record. That valuation could be too aggressive, though, according to Breakingviews calculations. With a heavy focus on retail investors, it’s ordinary Japanese who will need to be persuaded to pay up.

Breakingviews - Aussie office bid war offers easy investor exit

19 Sep 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A bidding war over Australian offices is providing shareholders with an opportunity to move out. U.S. private equity giant Blackstone and the real estate arm of Canadian pension giant OMERS are fighting over Investa Office Fund, a commercial property group with a A$4 billion ($3 billion) portfolio. They are betting on squeezed supply and yields Down Under that remain compelling by global standards. But the target, a lacklustre performer to date, has already climbed by a fifth since the frenzy began. Investors may want to consider relocating.

Breakingviews- Chinese IPOs bring casino trading to New York

18 Sep 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chinese startups are bringing mainland volatility to New York markets. Tencent-backed news aggregator Qutoutiao more than doubled on its first day of Nasdaq trading, before tumbling on the second; $9 billion luxury electric-car maker Nio see-sawed almost as much. Small free floats and untested business models are partly to blame, but the erratic behaviour will hurt future debuts.

Breakingviews - Yum China deserves more than a cheap takeout

27 Jul 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Yum China deserves more than a cheap takeout. Hillhouse Capital is in talks to buy the operator of KFCs, Pizza Huts and Taco Bells in the People’s Republic, The Information news website reported on Thursday, after which the company’s shares rose 15 percent. If successful, the Beijing investment outfit gets a Chinese consumption play pre-packed with Western-style governance, and its technology knowhow could supersize the $14 billion company.

Breakingviews- China Tower offering sends the right signals

25 Jul 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China Tower’s initial public offering is sending the right signals. The mobile-mast giant has set a fair price range for its Hong Kong IPO, which could raise nearly $9 billion. It has also limited the amount of stock sold to so-called cornerstone investors, attracting more than just friends and family. That’s a refreshing change from the usual way Chinese state-owned entities are dumped in Hong Kong.

Breakingviews - Chinese shopping-app IPO travels long last mile

17 Jul 2018

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Pinduoduo has a long last mile ahead of it. The unprofitable Chinese shopping app wants a valuation of some $20 billion in its upcoming initial public offering in New York. Sales are surging, but its social-networking e-commerce business model targeting consumers in far-flung areas of the People’s Republic could befuddle overseas investors.

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