HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Toshiba faces an unfamiliar problem: overabundance. The scandal-hit Japanese electronics group is finally poised to close the tortuous, 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) sale of its memory-chip business, meaning it will be flush with cash after years of crisis. Yet large investor payouts – either dividends or buybacks - seem a distant prospect.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sony is loudly demonstrating its love of content. On Tuesday, the Japanese electronics and entertainment group said it would buy majority control of EMI Music Publishing. Sony tightens its grip on a two-million-song catalogue spanning Queen to Kanye West - and the $4.8 billion deal leaves no room to doubt new boss Kenichiro Yoshida’s belief in the industry’s recovery.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Backing Morgan Stanley has paid off smartly for Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. Supporting the Wall Street stalwart at the height of the financial crisis has proved a welcome counterweight to the difficulties besetting Japanese finance.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Investors have mixed signals from AIA. First-quarter figures on Friday from the $107 billion insurer hint at the challenges of maintaining rapid growth at scale – yet also point to a future where it depends less extensively on China.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Selling Sprint puts SoftBank’s vision into sharper focus. The U.S. wireless carrier agreed to be the junior partner in a deal with larger rival T-Mobile US in an all-stock deal valuing Sprint at $59 billion, including debt. That represents a U-turn for the Japanese parent company's boss, Masayoshi Son, but one which fixes his thorniest problem.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - An insurgency effort at Hyundai is pushing for too much. U.S. hedge-fund titan Elliott Management wants a different sort of restructuring at South Korea’s second-largest chaebol, or family-owned conglomerate. Limitations on financial subsidiaries mean Hyundai may stick with its original structural overhaul.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - HNA Group is restructuring in a rather roundabout way. The Chinese conglomerate already has offloaded stakes in two Hilton Worldwide spinoffs for a combined $2.4 billion, as part of a streamlining programme that includes publicly floating businesses and shedding real estate. Now it has put its 26 percent holding in the U.S. hotelier itself, worth roughly $6.4 billion, on the block, too.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Harbour Energy clearly has a bold view on liquefied natural gas. The private equity-backed outfit is closing in on a $10 billion-plus takeover of Australian producer Santos. The target’s board tactfully resisted, but is wise to engage with its eager suitor now.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Yi Gang has experience working in America. Once considered a liability, that background now may be one of his greatest assets. And the mainland is courting companies to list shares locally, while China’s version of Hulu plans an IPO - in New York.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The seizure of Anbang Insurance Group flips the script on Chinese takeovers. Authorities have commandeered the acquisitive insurer – a buyer of New York’s Waldorf Astoria and onetime suitor of $14 billion Starwood Hotels – and prosecuted its boss, Wu Xiaohui. It is the boldest step yet in Beijing’s battle against financial excess. The move also could be a worrying omen for others.