HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Driving a hard bargain could backfire on Hyundai. The South Korean conglomerate's auto-parts business has offered less than half the $2.2 billion in dividends wanted by pushy U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management. Meanwhile, Hyundai's carmaker rejected another of the activist's proposals. These stingier options may ultimately cost it investor support when it comes to a broader restructuring.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Lenovo's reboot could run low on battery. The world's top PC-maker more than doubled pre-tax earnings in the December quarter from a year earlier, confirming a turnaround under boss Yang Yuanqing is underway. That's mostly powered by cost cuts in the $9 billion group's handset and server units. But with demand cooling for both, a Lenovo comeback may be difficult to sustain.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Britain has thrown Huawei a European lifeline. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has decided it can manage the risks from using the Chinese giant's kit to build next-generation 5G wireless networks, the Financial Times says. That would make London the first major power to challenge Washington’s campaign against the telecoms equipment-to-smartphone maker. It may not be the last.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ant Financial has taken a big step into Europe amid a global backlash against Chinese technology. Jack Ma's $150 billion payments-to-wealth management group has snapped up WorldFirst in the UK. The deal, which comes a year after a failed bid for U.S.-based MoneyGram, revives Ant's overseas push. But heightened European anxiety about China suggests future acquisitions may not be so easy to close.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Pinduoduo's search for calm will go on. Even by Chinese tech company standards, the $31 billion e-commerce outfit, which pushes group discounts on everything from fresh produce to clothes, has had a volatile start since it went public in July. A further $1 billion equity, raised on Friday, is a welcome step towards easing wild price swings. But ballooning losses, competition with Alibaba, and legal woes will continue to create a stir.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Sony's blockbuster share splurge misses the big picture. On Friday, Japan's $55-billion electronics giant said it would repurchase 100 billion yen ($911 million) worth of stock. Days after disappointing earnings, that’s a sign of confidence from newish boss Kenichiro Yoshida. To boost longer-term returns, though, he needs to convince investors a much-needed deeper overhaul of the video games-to-movies conglomerate is also underway.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Fortnite is battling media titans into a corner. The smash-hit video game may have raked in as much as $2.4 billion in 2018 sales, industry tracker SuperData estimates, more than any Hollywood blockbuster last year. Netflix said this week that it is threatened too, in the fight for viewers’ attention. Success comes from the mass appeal: young and older gamers are hooked. Both traditional movie outfits and streaming giants are right to be alarmed. | Video
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Xiaomi’s big vision just got a market reckoning. A grim outlook for Chinese smartphone demand has walloped entrepreneur Lei Jun's $33 billion company. The stock selloff suggests investors aren’t ready to buy into the internet services hype.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Temasek is helping a drugstore giant flaunt its glow. The Singapore state investor may sell some of its 25-percent stake in health and beauty heavyweight A.S. Watson, Reuters says. The retailer's size, moves upmarket in the mainland, and growth elsewhere in Asia could justify a premium to rivals.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Samsung Electronics' bad news intensifies its $70-billion bind. The South Korean giant says its fourth-quarter operating profit will tumble 29 percent compared to a year earlier, to a worse-than-expected 10.8 trillion won ($9.7 billion). With chip prices set to fall further, there is comfort to be found in the group’s ballooning cash pile. Scion and de facto boss Jay Y. Lee can boost investor returns and invest more energetically in new tech, from 5G to autonomous driving.