Alec Macfarlane

Breakingviews - Ant’s dual listing could double cross Wall St

Aug 12 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ant’s dual listing is bad news for Wall Street. A chunk of the $150 billion fintech giant will be sold on Shanghai’s fledgling STAR board, which is proving popular with big issuers and where fees for initial public offerings are as generous as in New York. Hong Kong bankers could be left with a smaller share of the pie. If more issuers follow Ant’s march, Wall Street’s dues are in for a reckoning.

Breakingviews - SoftBank lives the high life on yard sales

Aug 11 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son’s giant yard sale is buying him time to relax. The $129 billion group returned to profit in the last quarter following a dismal three months in the red, buoyed by the sale of T-Mobile shares and other investment gains. Asset sales fuelled a jumbo share buyback plan that narrowed a wide conglomerate discount, and there are large exits to come from its Vision funds. They should carry Son over the current soft spot, provided equity markets stay buoyant.

Breakingviews - Ctrip invites funds to buy out China’s travel dip

Jul 29 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Trip.com, best known as Ctrip, is inviting brave funds to buy out China’s tourism dip. The country’s biggest online travel outfit is considering going private, Reuters reported. It has a clean balance sheet and no controlling shareholder, and premiums for delisting Chinese companies in New York have nearly halved to 22% from last year, according to Refinitiv data. It’s a tempting target as domestic travel revives, but funding a deal will be tricky. 

Breakingviews - SoftBank will struggle to find equal love of Arm

Jul 14 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - SoftBank Group boss Masayoshi Son once called Arm Holdings his most important acquisition. Since the $128 bln Japanese group bought the UK chip designer four years ago, however, businesses have been hived off and sales growth and operating profit have underwhelmed. As Son contemplates floating a piece of the company, he may struggle to sell investors on his own hype.

Breakingviews - Sea’s $55 bln valuation can rise with the tide

Jul 03 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sea is benefitting from a high tide. The Singaporean tech company’s $55 billion market capitalisation has risen eight-fold in the three years since its New York listing, outpacing global rivals. A pandemic-related boom in online games and e-commerce has helped, justifying much of the investor enthusiasm. Its payments business could provide the Tencent-backed outfit with an extra valuation buoy.

Breakingviews - Ping An untangles one knot in its leadership

Jul 02 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - One knot is better than two. Ping An founder Ma Mingzhe has given up his role as chief executive but will remain chairman of the $187 billion Chinese insurer. The split is welcome, but quirky governance endures with three other co-CEOs below him. Multiple bosses can be effective when responsibilities are clearly divided. Luckily, Ping An mostly appears to have ticked that box.

Breakingviews - Crisis patience will reward buyout barons in Asia

Jun 18 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Asia’s buyout barons face a high-wire act. Private equity dealmaking in the region is on the rise this year, defying a global pandemic-induced slump. But some of the worst acquisitions were done during the last financial crisis. Sitting it out and delaying exits may help firms avoid repeating past mistakes.

Breakingviews - China’s $9 bln classifieds buyout is an easy sale

Jun 16 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The largest buyout of a U.S-listed Chinese company looks like an easy sale. A group including private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic is leading an $8.7 billion deal for classifieds site 58.com. The 20% premium is decent for a business that has fallen out of favour and provides a clean exit from an inhospitable market.

Breakingviews - Tencent’s China car deal defies and disappoints

Jun 15 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tencent is driving a deal that both defies and disappoints. A consortium led by the Chinese internet giant has agreed to buy New York-listed car comparison site Bitauto for $1.1 billion, the same price it proposed months ago. Globally, buyers have tried to cut lower prices on deals etched out before the pandemic. But the outlook for China’s auto market is rosier than before. From that perspective, Tencent is getting a bargain.

Breakingviews - Hong Kong tacks on Cathay to complicated itinerary

Jun 09 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hong Kong just complicated a busy itinerary by adding Cathay Pacific to it. The government is leading a HK$39 billion ($5 billion) bailout of the struggling carrier, leaving it with a 6% stake. Swire Pacific also vowed to keep control as part of an accompanying rights issue. That will ease some concerns about a takeover by shareholder Air China, but it’s still a dicey deal amid the city’s unrest.   

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