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As Watson

Hutchison Whampoa is a Fortune 500 company and one of Hong Kong’s largest listed companies. It is 49.97 per cent owned by the Cheung Kong Group, a property company. Hutchison’s origins date back to two companies founded in the 19th century – Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock, established in 1863 by British merchant John Duflon Hutchison, and Hutchison International in 1877. In 1977, Hutchison became Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. Its operations include ports, with operations across Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, property and hotels, retailing through AS Watson & Co, PARKnSHOP supermarkets, Fortress electrical appliance stores, telecommunications through Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. It is also involved in infrastructure through its infrastructure arm, Cheung Kong Infrastructure, and has an interest in Hongkong Electric Holdings (HEH), the sole electricity supplier to Hong Kong Island and Lamma Island. Hutchison is also a major shareholder of Husky Energy, one of Canada’s largest energy and energy related companies. It is headed by Li Ka-shing, Asia’s wealthiest man, who has been nicknamed “Superman” because of his investment prowess. 

The AS Watson deal allows Li Ka-shing to pull out some capital from the retailer and redeploy it for better returns. Photo: Bloomberg

Did Temasek overpay for its stake in AS Watson?

Li Ka-shing's latest move to quickly close a HK$44 billion private deal with Singapore's Temasek for 25 per cent of AS Watson may be convenient for him, but the future could reveal that the sovereign wealth fund overpaid for Asia's richest man's own perceived brand and prowess.

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