HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai stands as a hulking symbol of the company’s Chinese ambitions. The 30,000-square-foot caffeinated wonderland represents just one of 6,000, mostly smaller stores the chain plans to roll out across the mainland by 2022. Such bold plans will run up against stiffer competition and trade-war-related pressures in 2019. Local backers will help preserve this fledgling Bean Dynasty.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - An active acquirer lurks in South Korea. Over the last couple of years, companies from Japan and China have led Asia in overseas deals. Seoul-based conglomerate SK Group could be up next. Bankers should make sure they have boss Chey Tae-won on speed dial.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Looking for a good bet in 2019? Put some money down on a big U.S. sports scandal.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - It is hard not to see tense U.S.-China situations these days though a trade-war prism. Such is the case with a Fuzhou court banning the sale of some Apple iPhone models just days after the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada. The timing of U.S. regulators reviving concerns about audits seems curious, too. Even without direct links to increasingly frayed relations between Beijing and Washington, the last few days serve as a reminder of the technology ties that tightly bind them.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The new book “Billion Dollar Whale” chronicles the Malaysian mega-scandal involving Goldman Sachs and Leonardo DiCaprio. Co-author Tom Wright joined Breakingviews in Hong Kong to discuss how alleged mastermind Jho Low pulled it off and what the saga’s next chapter may bring.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Making a success of buying Finland’s Amer Sports would be a marathon not a sprint for Anta Sports Products. The Chinese suitor’s stock has suffered since it approached the owner of winter gear brands Salomon and Arc’teryx in September with a $5.3 billion cash offer. Shareholders may be worried about the high price and the prospect of initially lower margins and dividends, but the company’s experience with Fila suggests the deal could pay off.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - So much for Hong Kong’s Hollywood ending. STX Entertainment, the studio behind “Bad Moms” and Jackie Chan’s “The Foreigner,” allowed its proposed initial public offering in the Asian financial hub to lapse this week. A rocky market is easy to blame, but losing an international issuer with Chinese backers will sting the exchange, which has struggled to escape its parochial proclivities.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China Biologic Products makes a good case for why it should go private. Instead of accepting one of two takeover bids offering hefty premiums, the U.S.-listed manufacturer of plasma products opted for a dilutive share sale at a discount to both. Fuzzy math and poor corporate governance create nothing but bad blood.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Companies around the world just got a stark reminder about how stretched executives can get. Australian billionaire James Packer has resigned from a whopping 22 directorships after quitting the board of casino operator Crown Resorts for mental health reasons. Campaigns against such so-called “overboarding” are on the rise, especially as evidence suggests returns can suffer.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - As China bulls gain momentum, a new breed of bears has awakened, too. Waning concerns about the country’s economy, debt and infrastructure projects were reflected in some of the investment opportunities proposed at Sohn Hong Kong, the annual idea-fest that helps raise money to fight cancer. Scepticism about tech titans, however, suggests a new mindset shift could be underway.