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United Kingdom

Alec Macfarlane

Breakingviews - Speedway could leave 7-Eleven with overfull tank

20 Feb 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Japan’s Seven & i risks overfilling the tank. The $31 billion 7-Eleven convenience store empire is in exclusive talks to buy Marathon Petroleum’s Speedway petrol stations for roughly $22 billion, Bloomberg reported, news that erased $3.3 billion from its market value. Seven & i already has a credible foothold in the United States and a clean balance sheet, but the bid values it far more richly than peers. An all-cash deal might provide leverage without fat returns.  

Breakingviews - Hong Kong bankers drop-kicked while they’re down

14 Feb 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hong Kong bankers are getting drop-kicked while they’re down. The marquee stop for the World Rugby Sevens Series, where corporate financiers typically schmooze and cut loose with clients, is being postponed for six months because of the coronavirus. Its absence in the April diary will be a grim reminder of a potentially tough year ahead.

Breakingviews - Goldman Sachs tests Malaysia reach in Tesco deal

15 Jan 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A smooth sale of a Tesco unit will signal it’s mostly back to business as usual for Goldman Sachs. The U.S. bank is advising the British grocer on a potential $9 billion exit from Southeast Asia. Up to one fifth of the operations by value sit in Malaysia. That means the Wall Street bank led by David Solomon may earn fees from the sale of assets in a country where Goldman is still tangling with authorities for its role in the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB sovereign fund scandal.

Breakingviews - Hong Kong poised to reclaim IPO crown

06 Jan 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hong Kong will rise again in at least one financial realm. Only twice – in post-crisis 2009 and 2010 – has the local bourse managed to outduel the combined power of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq for new equity issuance. Violent pro-democracy protests present a significant challenge, but there are strong countervailing forces that put the Asian financial hub in position to reclaim the IPO crown.

Chinese bottled water IPO offers up a muddy glass

18 Dec 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China’s top bottled-water supplier is pouring investors a cloudy glass. Nongfu Spring is considering a Hong Kong initial public offering to raise at least $1 billion, Bloomberg reports. A fizzy price tag, though, will require more than mainland households’ thirst for the bottled stuff.

Breakingviews - Air seeps quickly out of SoftBank bubbles

12 Dec 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Air is seeping quickly out of SoftBank bubbles. OneConnect on Wednesday shrank its initial public offering to a valuation that is less than half the $7.5 billion imputed when Masayoshi Son’s Vision Fund backed Ping An Insurance’s bank-software vendor last year. Dozens of startups from Didi to Oyo may soon be feeling similarly deflated.

Breakingviews - Warehouse IPO reroutes Asian investment bank fees

21 Oct 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - There’s a new manager for the logistics of a warehouse operator’s stock sale. ESR Cayman has revived its initial public offering plans in Hong Kong after aborting them in June. This time around Morgan Stanley will lead the effort instead of Deutsche Bank and CLSA. It’s a sign of things to come in an industry undergoing fresh upheaval.

Breakingviews - Greed and gloom sink KKR’s Aussie lender IPO

16 Oct 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Aussie backers are learning the hard way that greed and gloom don’t mix. U.S. private equity firm KKR and other investors have scrapped a second attempt to list Australian lender Latitude, after buyers rejected a $2.1 billion valuation. Even after a last-minute price cut, the discount to big banks was too modest. Debt-laden households, struggling with flat wages and precarious jobs, hardly helped.

Breakingviews - Hong Kong seeks new traffic cop for wonky market

15 Oct 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Running Hong Kong’s securities regulator is not a job for the fiercely ambitious. Ashley Alder, who has helmed the Securities and Futures Commission for eight years, is stepping down in 2020 having won some moderate battles and lost some bigger ones. The job he vacates is unique in financial regulatory circles, but not really in a good way.

Boutique bank rides Chinese unicorns downhill

27 Sep 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The magic of unicorns has worn off for China Renaissance. The boutique investment bank that caters to mainland technology companies has lost more than half its market value since going public a year ago, as its target industry cooled off. Founder Fan Bao is counting on his own venture capital and brokerage businesses to steady things. If the downturn lasts, though, it will impede both.

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