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.
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.
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.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hong Kong’s latest wave of listings are attracting some big helping hands. Anheuser-Busch InBev raised $5 billion through a relaunched float of its Asia-Pacific unit. There’s appetite for new share issues in the city despite ongoing protests, but at a discount and with strong cornerstone support.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China is aiming its retaliatory trade war salvos away from Wall Street. Goldman Sachs has applied to take a majority stake in its local joint venture, and it may well get it. Despite tensions, Beijing appears open to U.S. banks boosting their mainland presence. Their lack of market heft means they don’t threaten local rivals much, and China may need their help in the future.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - John Flint’s abrupt departure from HSBC leaves a worrying gap at the top. The veteran banker has parted company with the Asia-focused lender after a mere 18 months at the helm, with little explanation. Given mounting uncertainty in key markets, it's a poor time to be adding more.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Mainland startups are under pressure, as once-plentiful funds dry up. Jixun Foo, managing partner at GGV Capital and a backer of tech giants like Didi Chuxing, discusses with Alec Macfarlane why the drop-off in financing could ultimately benefit investors.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Macquarie is an unlikely target for pay reform. Australia’s so-called millionaire factory is caught in the middle of a wider debate about how financial services firms pay their executives. The prudential regulator is cracking down on remuneration at big banks and insurers, and a group of shareholders is threatening to vote against Macquarie’s remuneration at Thursday’s annual general meeting. That’s odd, because in some senses Macquarie is a role model.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Anheuser-Busch InBev’s deal machine is going into a smart reverse. The Belgian brewer’s sale of its Australian business to Asahi for $11.3 billion will cut debt. The Japanese company is paying a lower valuation for the maker of Victoria Bitter than AB InBev wanted from an initial public offering of its Asia business, shelved last week, but probably higher than the multiple investors ascribed to the unit. It keeps the door open for boss Carlos Brito to try again.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Morgan Stanley’s Asian crown just got a Budweiser-shaped dent. Along with JPMorgan, the U.S. bank was joint sponsor of AB InBev’s now-scrapped listing of its Asia unit, which was intended to raise $9.8 billion. The setback takes the shine off its local league-table pre-eminence.