HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Lee Kun-hee leaves behind an impressive, albeit deeply flawed, empire. The Samsung chairman, who transformed his father's noodle-trading business into a $355 billion smartphone and chipmaking colossus, has died at 78. The second-generation leader's mark on Korea Inc will endure, but so do scandals that threaten the family’s grip on power.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Hyundai may finally be ready to tinker with its chaebol setup. The South Korean company warned of another $2.9 billion charge for engine troubles, but electric vehicles should propel its upcoming financial results. That would provide the necessary momentum for a broader restructuring.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - SK Hynix's chip deal is just what the sector needs right now. South Korea's semiconductor giant will buy Intel's NAND memory business for $9 billion - its largest acquisition ever. Less competition might prop up prices, which have plunged on uncertain demand. In the long term, stronger chipmakers may stand a better chance against Chinese entrants.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Technology firms, particularly finance-focused ones in China, are used to operating at the cutting edge of regulation. But overconfidence is always a risk, as Chinese fintech champion Ant has discovered after watchdogs started probing its initial public offering process.
HONG KONG(Reuters Breakingviews) - Samsung Electronics can have Huawei's cake and eat it too. The South Korean conglomerate expects to deliver a robust third-quarter performance, as U.S. sanctions forced its Chinese customer to stockpile chips. Taking some of its telecommunications equipment and smartphone business will be the real prize.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - JD.com might look slightly unloved after completing its hyped-up spinoffs. The Chinese web retailer's market cap has more than doubled to $117 billion this year. That has been helped by expectations for listings of its health, financial technology and logistics units which might account for almost half of JD’s equity value. The downside is it prices up a so-so worth for its outperforming e-commerce business.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The debut of Toshiba’s chip unit may short-circuit in volatile markets. Two years after the Japanese conglomerate's crown jewel was sold to a group led by U.S. buyout firm Bain Capital, the rebranded Kioxia will go public in Tokyo at a valuation of $20 billion.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Nvidia has played a risky opening chess move. The U.S. listed graphics-chip specialist led by Jensen Huang will buy UK chip designer Arm from SoftBank and its Vision Fund in a deal worth up to $40 billion. But Arm's customers and regulators may baulk, and the chunky price tag presupposes huge growth and market share gains.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Rio Tinto’s recklessness has set a welcome new bar for environmental, social and corporate governance. Boss Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two deputies, including the head of its iron ore unit which accounted for 96% of half-year earnings, will step down after outcry over the $105 billion miner's destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal heritage site in Western Australia. Local activists and shareholders, including the country’s powerful superannuation funds, have led a charge that will inspire other socially-conscious investors.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Valuing Ant is no easy thing. The hype around its initial public offering, combined with a recently restructured business model and unpredictable regulatory environment, make the Chinese financial technology behemoth’s prospects especially difficult to forecast. It also has no obvious peers. Given the available information, though, a Breakingviews calculator suggests a reasonable place to start is about $275 billion.