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Editorial : Sale of Orient Overseas marks end of an era Publishing Date: 2017/7/12

【明報專訊】THERE was once a time when Hong Kong's "four kings of boats" played a commanding role in global container shipping. But as time went by, Orient Overseas International, founded by former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's family, has recently accepted COSCO Shipping's (COSCO's) buyout offer for $49.2 billion. The deal has led to some conspiracy theories, with a US media group claiming with certainty that the Tung family had no choice but to sell their business under "political pressure from the central government". Some people, meanwhile, argue that the 30 per cent premium at which COSCO made the takeover bid is "too much", and that the Tung family has enjoyed a clear favour. However, those occupied with conspiracy theories are likely to miss the whole picture and ignore the intense competition in global container shipping, so much so that mergers and acquisitions involving the big ones have become an irresistible trend. To the Tung family and Hong Kong, the sale of Orient Overseas marks the end of an era. But looking at the sale from the perspective of the competition in the industry, we believe it also marks the beginning of a new era.


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