For over a decade a weak yuan brought in export revenues. Then a rising currency attracted investment. The falling exchange rate helps the former but puts the latter in jeopardy. In order to avoid a financial crisis, stronger is probably better, even it means more meddling.
The Chinese group is planning to launch a new mobile brand in China just months after completing its $2.9 bln Motorola takeover. Juggling separate brands may help fend off domestic upstarts like Xiaomi. But with margins already razor-thin, Lenovo is in danger of overstretching.
Richard Gonzalez, the pharma firm’s boss, shelled out $1.6 bln last year to get out of a hard-won bid for Shire. Now he has come out on top in an intensely competitive biotech auction. AbbVie may get a blockbuster drug, but at a high cost: It must share profits with rival J&J.
EBay’s artsy cousin promises to set aside stock for vendors, finance a non-profit, eschew guidance and “keep it real, always.” But the deal’s artisanal accounting, a staggered board, poison pill and wide discretion to issue super-voting stock is pure Silicon Valley greed.
The world’s largest tyre and car-parts maker has a bullish 2020 outlook. Suppliers stand to benefit greatly from the auto industry’s technological shifts. Yet investors should stay sober. Conti’s shares already price in the upside. And its dividend policy remains thrifty.
Premier Li Keqiang says GDP will grow about 7 pct this year. Though the lack of precision helps, the goal may still force the government into short-term stimulus or fudging the numbers. For all its progress, China is still not ready to scrap its big, reassuring objective.
Larry Fink, boss of the $4.7 trln asset manager, generally opposes activist investing. At the same time, BlackRock is finding new ways to needle corporate boards by, for example, leaning on long-tenured directors. The quiet approach can work, but it may be time to speak up.
All 31 lenders passed phase one, imagining what might happen to their capital in a deep recession. Last year, Citigroup, BofA and others stumbled in round two. Experience and better guidance from regulators mean a fail this year could be especially ugly for bank chieftains.
Capping variable compensation makes scant sense for bankers; it makes even less sense for asset managers. Doing so, as European authorities are now proposing, will do little for stability but push up compliance costs. The final irony is EU lawmakers didn’t even want it.
The UK insurer’s 2014 results showed rising excess cash from operations. That’s reassuring, given tricky times for the sector and a 21 pct dividend hike. While the integration of Friends Life is a risk, Aviva doesn’t look to be doing the deal to cover up operating weakness.
The Mexican tycoon bought a 25 pct stake in property firm Realia at a discount and is eyeing a takeover. He is also the biggest shareholder of builder FCC, which in turn owns major stakes in Realia and Cementos Portland. Slim effectively controls all three. Minorities beware.
Transactions that match buyers with retailers on the Chinese group’s website grew 220 pct in the fourth quarter, far outstripping growth in direct sales. Acting as a middleman, like larger rival Alibaba, may offer better margins. Earnings are still absent, but look less elusive.
The oldest U.S. artists’ collective took in over $1 bln for the first time in 2014, much of it for songs streamed over the internet. That shouldn’t stop Congress or courts from revamping a system that underpays musicians. But it suggests such groups can survive in a Spotify era.