福布斯 中国收买华尔街

上一篇 / 下一篇  2008-01-01 11:59:04


  次贷问题给华尔街带来全面的信贷紧缩打击,政权公司的股价处于贱卖水平。新的买家就是所谓的主权基金,而中国的主权基金时最突出的。

  中国拥有世界上最庞大的贸易盈余,每日积聚约10亿美元的外汇储备。中国最近成立了新的主权基金——中国投资有限责任公司(CIC)——去投资这些更有利可图的基金,而不是把储备限制在低回报的国家债券。市场参与者们,要注意了。

  西方担心这些主权基金投资者究竟会像常规那些盯着收益率的投资者那样行动,还是别有用心。两点:其一,如果主权财富基金投资者受收益率驱动,那它们的时间轴可能比关注短期的美国机构投资者的长得多。在这个问题上,我是一个乐观主义者,在投资世界打滚多年,我越来越反感盯着短期的股价。对我来说,延长投资者的时间轴是有积极意义的,让公司可以为长期规划和行动。

  但第二,如果主权财富资金的议程与地缘政治相连,或者甚至制造连串令东道主国不舒服的事件,这样的基金投资将遭到世界许多地方的拒绝。中国说希望自己在金融市场能受到普通投资者的待遇,说自己会遵守国际惯例。很好。但中国是一个由国家主导的非市场经济体。鉴于北京明摆的国家政策就是让国有企业进入全球主导地位,难怪外国政府会戒备森严。许多人难以接受那种认为CIC没有这么广阔的战略视野的观点。

  北京的CIC已经同意给信贷麻烦缠身的摩根斯坦利投资50亿美元。CIC的投资可以在几年内转化成摩根斯坦利9.9%的股权。摩根斯坦利的股价已经从73美元降到大约49美元,在CIC眼中这是贱卖价。在中国宣布投资后,它的股价回弹至54美元。CIC拿到了便宜货,但没有董事席,在管理中也没有发言权——是被动的投资。我认为这是一笔双赢的交易。

  摩根斯坦利自1994进入中国金融领域,从最好的买家那里获得了可观的资金注入。任何外国公司获得CIC的投资,就像是拿到了中国认可的“好管家”勋章。摩根斯坦利的人现在可以拿着名片在中国周游,说自己部分属于声望很高的CIC。在中国,企业和国家的关系纠缠不清,很少人胆敢把摩根斯坦利的代表挡在门外。

  反过来,CIC在美国首屈一指的投资银行公司占得一席之地——无可否认,这家公司刚刚出了点状况,但人们很容易看到摩根斯坦利的股价恢复已经收复了次级崩溃中失去的所有失地——回报可能令CIC和大部分其他投资者感到愉快。对CIC和全中国而言,最有价值的部分在于获得全球证券业首席的认可,以及获得了解西方现代金融手法和技术及与天才金融家碰面的机会。尽管中国经济增长纪录极好,但它的金融领域仍然是薄弱而原始的。像这样促进中国金融业现代化的每一步对中国和全球经济而言都是一个得益。

  在2005年,中海油试图收购美国公司尤尼科,但华盛顿以地缘政治为由加以抵制,不久后,中海油就收回它的意图。中国要获得尤尼科的控股权,华盛顿许多人都摇头说不,世界许多国家则是根据收购的规模以及所涉及领域的敏感性来判断。

  因此,现在CIC有了新的战略——购买被动股份,通常没有董事席位,没有控制权。因此中国投资机构对现状就不构成威胁,但它学到现代经济体的运作,并有望赢得顶级的股市回报。

英文原文:

China Buys Wall Street
Donald Straszheim 12.27.07, 6:00 AM ET

The subprime mortgage problem has now yielded a full-blown credit squeeze on Wall Street with securities firms' stock prices at fire-sale levels. The new fire-sale buyers are the so-called sovereign wealth funds, and China's are the most prominent.

With the world's largest trade surplus, China is accumulating foreign exchange reserves of about $1 billion per day. Rather than holding these reserves in low-paying Treasury securities, China recently created a new sovereign wealth fund--China Investment Company (CIC)--to invest these funds more profitably. Market participants, pay attention.

The West worries about whether these sovereign wealth fund investors will act like conventional rate-of-return focused investors or will have a different agenda in mind. Two points: First, if the sovereign wealth fund investors are rate-of-return motivated, they might have a much longer time horizon than the typical short-term-focused U.S. institutional investor. I am an optimist on this--increasingly disgusted during my many years in the investment world at the ever shorter term focus on stock prices. To me, anything that extends investors' time horizons would be positive, allowing companies to plan and act for the long run.

But second, if the sovereign wealth fund's agenda even borders on the geo-political, or may set up a sequence of events that is uncomfortable to the host country, then such funds' investments are going to be rejected in many parts of the world. China says it wants " ... to be treated as a common investor in financial markets and will follow international practice regarding disclosure." Fine. But China is a non-market economy that is dominated by the state sector. It is understandable that foreign governments are guarded, given that explicitly stated policy in Beijing is to develop centrally owned state enterprises into positions of global dominance. It is hard for many to accept that CIC would have a less-expansive or less-strategic view.

Beijing's CIC has agreed to invest $5 billion in Morgan Stanley (nyse: MS - news - people ), which is troubled by the credit mess. CIC's investment can be converted into a 9.9% stake to Morgan Stanley in a few years. Morgan Stanley's stock had fallen from $73 to about $49, a fire-sale price in CIC's eyes, though it has rebounded to $54 since the announcement of the Chinese investment. CIC gets a bargain, but no board seat and no say in Morgan Stanley's management--a passive investment. I think this is a win-win deal.

Morgan Stanley, a player in China's financial sector since 1994, gets a sizable cash infusion from the best buyer imaginable. An investment in any foreign company by CIC is like a "Good Housekeeping" seal of approval in China. Morgan Stanley's people now can travel China with business cards saying they are partly owned by the prestigious CIC. The way business and government are intertwined in China, few would dare to refuse talking to a Morgan Stanley representative at the door.

CIC, in turn, gets a seat at the table of one of America's premier investment banking firms--admittedly after it has just stubbed its toe. But it is easy to see Morgan Stanley's stock price recovering all it had lost in the subprime debacle-- a return that likely would make CIC or most any other investor happy. Most valuable to CIC (and to all of China) is head-table acceptance in the global securities industry, the chance to understand modern financial practices and technology in the west and to meet talented financiers who would otherwise be out of reach. Despite China's stunning economic growth record, its financial sector remains weak and primitive. Every step, like this one, that modernizes China's financial sector is a plus for China and for the global economy.

Remember also that CIC invested $3 billion in the June 2007 IPO of Blackstone (nyse: BX - news - people ), a top New York-based private equity firm. This also was a passive investment-- no board seats, no management input. CIC is not happy that the stock is down about 30% from its IPO price, but not to worry. Beijing knows that private equity is going to be very important in China during the coming years. To me, far more significant than any anticipated investment returns is the chance to learn private equity from the best. And Blackstone, with the CIC imprimatur, has a great advantage in China over their competitors.

Just two months ago, Bear Stearns (nyse: BSC - news - people ), another respected securities firm weighed down by subprime missteps, sold a stake in CITIC Securities, a predominantly state-owned Chinese firm. CITIC bought into Bear at a big discount. Bear got the cash, but now enjoys bragging rights in China that are pale compared to those that would have accompanied a CIC investment.

One last historical point. In 2005, CNOOC (nyse: CEO - news - people ) of China (a big state-owned oil and gas firm) attempted to buy Unocal but met considerable resistance in Washington, on geo-political grounds, and soon pulled its bid. China would have gained controlling interest in Unocal, a no-no to many in Washington and in many countries in the world depending on the size of the acquisition and the sensitivity of the sector.

So now CIC has a new strategy--to buy passive stakes, usually with no board seat and no control. This Chinese investment vehicle, therefore, represents no threat to the status quo, but it's learning how a modern economy operates and hopefully will earn top equity market returns.

Donald H. Straszheim is vice chairman of Roth Capital Partners in Los Angeles, former global chief economist at Merrill Lynch (nyse: MER - news - people ), a visiting scholar at the University of California-Los Angeles Anderson School of Management and a longtime China specialist. He previously served as president of the Milken Institute and joined Roth in 2006 to spearhead the firm's China initiatives.

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