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Quentin Webb

Apr 23 2017

Markets are wary of new blot on Japan Inc's image

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Investors are wary of a new blot on Japan Inc's image. Camera and photocopier-maker Fujifilm said on Thursday it had uncovered some dodgy accounting abroad. The negative stock market reaction to a $200 million flub is telling.

Apr 19 2017

Australia's Tatts could wring more out of KKR team

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tatts could wring more out of its financial suitors. On Wednesday, a KKR-backed consortium made a fresh attempt to gatecrash the Australian betting group's takeover by rival Tabcorp. At A$6.2 billion ($4.7 billion), the interloper's new proposal broadly matches Tabcorp's bid in value, but is not yet a knockout. The target's directors could open up the books and push for a little extra.

Apr 11 2017

Life Down Under is good — maybe too good

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Life Down Under brings its own risks. Australia is enjoying its 26th recession-free year, showing how this flexible economy has made the most of a rising China. Yet an overheating housing market threatens to bring the good times to an abrupt end. 

Apr 03 2017

Empire-building sets HNA on a risky trajectory

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - HNA Group's empire-building puts it on a risky trajectory. The Chinese travel outfit has spent tens of billions of dollars abroad on everything from land and hotels to high finance. These are just opening gambits as HNA seeks to amass trillions of dollars in assets.

Mar 24 2017

Markets would miss Japan's reformer-in-chief

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - How do you say "key-man risk" in Japanese? Investors might need to think about that. For now, they are relaxed about a land scandal involving Premier Shinzo Abe. But the episode highlights a vulnerability. The country's ongoing grand economic overhaul is fashioned around a single man: it is called "Abenomics" for a reason.

Mar 21 2017

Spotless bid leaves private equity mess Down Under

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A bid for Spotless cannot scrub clean private equity's reputation in Australia. On Tuesday leftfield bidder Downer EDI made a surprise A$1.3 billion ($1 billion) offer for the struggling cleaning and catering firm. That represents a reasonable premium to a beaten-up share price. But this will remain a cautionary tale for Aussie investors wary of listings by former leveraged buyouts.

Mar 17 2017

Japan's tight-fisted bosses face pay reckoning

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Japan's tight-fisted bosses could be in for a reckoning over pay. The first results from the annual "shunto" wage talks between unions and major employers such as Toyota suggest staff are set for another year of miserly pay rises. But the balance of power could soon shift in employees' favour.

Mar 13 2017

New AIA boss can retain Tucker's policies

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - AIA does not need a policy overhaul. With heavyweight Chief Executive Mark Tucker off to chair HSBC, the $78 billion Hong Kong-listed Asian insurer has chosen continuity in promoting regional chief and industry veteran Ng Keng Hooi as his successor. The new CEO will find growth is set to slow but that the business is in good shape.

Mar 01 2017

Harry Potter conjures Japanese growth for Comcast

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - With Harry Potter's help, Comcast can conjure up growth in sleepy Japan. The biggest U.S. cable operator is paying 255 billion yen ($2.3 billion) to buy out Goldman Sachs and other partners in Universal Studios Japan. The Osaka theme park's success, thanks partly to the boy wizard, highlights a part of the economy where domestic consumption growth is no illusion.

Feb 23 2017

Ceding Nissan CEO role is a good start for Ghosn

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Stepping back from the day-to-day at Nissan Motor is a good start for Carlos Ghosn. The workaholic had been combining four chairmanships and three chief executive roles – far too much for even the most indefatigable boss. Now Ghosn will cede Nissan's CEO role to company veteran Hiroto Saikawa, who has been warming up as co-CEO since October. That is laudable. Losing a few more titles would be even better.

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