Case Studies

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Singapore Airlines: In Talks to Invest in Jeju Air

by Assoc Prof Ruth S. K. Tan, Dr Zsuzsa R. Huszar and Dr Weina Zhang

Publication Date: 26/08/2015

Jeju Air is a market leader in the South Korean low-cost carrier industry, operating more than 20 domestic and international air routes in Asian countries. In the midst of rising economic activity and the opening of more air routes in North Asia, Jeju Air is planning an initial public offering to seek capital to grow its China business.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines is in discussions to purchase a 20 per cent equity investment in Jeju Air. Is this investment a wise decision for Singapore Airlines? Additionally, what is Singapore Airlines’ future outlook in terms of its existing underperforming subsidiaries?

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (

OCBC Versus Elliott Management: Acquisition of Wing Hang Bank

by Dr Emir Hrnjić and Mr Han Dong (BBA student)

Publication Date: 15/07/2015

A Singapore-based financial services company, the second largest lender in Southeast Asia, offered to acquire a Hong Kong bank, the eighth largest lender in the country, for a premium price per share. Three months later, a multi-billion hedge fund firm based in the United States had accumulated close to 8 per cent of the Hong Kong bank’s shares. According to Hong Kong’s securities law, the Singapore-based financial institution would have to acquire 90 per cent of the Hong Kong bank’s shares to successfully take the bank private, and there were only 25 days left for the company to meet this requirement. The hedge fund firm’s unspoken message was clear: raise your bid price to buy our shares or we will keep the company public at your expense.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (

NUS Museum: Developing Branding Strategies

by Dr Wu Pei Chuan, Ms Joyce Ka Mun Ho (BBA Hons graduated student), Mr Nicodemus We Ming Ler (BBA Hons graduated student) and Ms Shirlyn Wanxia Tan (BBA Hons graduated student)

Published Date: 14/07/2015

This case addresses the challenges that the NUS Museum faces regarding its awareness amongst the NUS Community. Trina, as the new Outreach Assistant Manager, had to update herself on the NUS Museum’s current situation. Apparently, the NUS Museum’s visitorship has remained stagnant since 2008, despite consistent programming efforts. The NUS Museum is the first university museum in Singapore and was established in 1955. It is located within the main Kent Ridge campus of National University of Singapore in southwest Singapore. The NUS Museum has over 8,000 artifacts and artworks divided across four permanent collections. Donors to the collection include Lee Seng Tee and the late Ng Eng Teng. With such rich and diverse Collections to boast, what could be the factors leading to the lack of awareness amongst the NUS Community? What steps should Trina take to increase awareness amongst the NUS Community?


Shanda Games: A Buyout of a Chinese Family Firm

by Dr Emir Hrnjić and Prof David Reeb

Publication Date: 27/04/2015

A controlling shareholder of the NYSE-listed Chinese online gaming company Shanda Games has offered a buyout at USD6.90 per American Depository Share (ADS); each ADS consists of two ordinary shares. The offer provides a premium of 22 per cent to the stock’s Friday close. Throughout the previous year, Shanda Games’ ADS had typically traded in the range of USD3.00 to 4.50.

As Shanda Games’ independent directors attempt to evaluate the offer, they wonder: Should the shareholders accept it as it is? Should they ask for a higher price? Or should they look for the alternatives?

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (

Temasek's Offer to Buy Olam International

by Assoc Prof Ruth S. K. Tan, Dr Zsuzsa R. Huszar and Dr Weina Zhang

Publication Date: 10/04/2015

Olam International, a publicly listed firm, was a leading agri-business with an integrated supply chain. To sustain growth, the company took on large amounts of debt to fund acquisitions and other capital expenditures. A hedge fund issued a Sell recommendation, highlighting the problems facing the company, including several years of negative free cash flows. The heated exchange between Olam and the hedge fund led to a government investment fund, Temasek Holdings, first backing Olam, and then eventually offering to buy out the minority shareholders. This scenario presents an excellent opportunity to apply the discounted cash flow analysis and relative valuation techniques to evaluate Temasek’s offer.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (

Suit Wars: Men's Wearhouse versus Jos. A. Bank

by Dr Emir Hrnjić, Prof David Reeb and Assoc Prof Wee Yong Yeo

Publication Date: 31/03/2015

On October 9, 2013, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., a large U.S. retailer of men's tailored and casual clothing, footwear and accessories, made a hostile offer to buy its larger rival Men’s Wearhouse. The latter made a counter-offer on January 6, 2014 in what is known as a Pac-man defence — the prey turned predator. Jos. A. Bank responded by adopting a poison pill, announcing the planned acquisition of Eddie Bauer, an outdoor apparel retailer. What started out as a simple offer had turned into a contest with multiple counter-offers and the deployment of several takeover defences. How should Eminence Capital, a New York-based hedge fund and the largest shareholder in both firms, react? How should each firm respond to the latest offer on their respective tables?

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (

SBS Transit

By Assoc Prof Lau Geok Theng and Mr Ben Sim (NUS student)
Case for NUS International Case Competition

In September 2014, Mr Woon Chio Chong, Executive Vice President, Bus Development of SBS Transit, was wondering what changes to the organisation, strategies and operations of SBS Transit should be made to improve its profitability and pole position in the public bus transportation business in Singapore. This was following the announcement by the Singapore Government in May 2014 that public bus transportation was shifting from a privatised to a government contracting model. The bus service industry was defined by its yearly profits, service standards and safety records. Previously, the concern of profitability by bus operators resulted in neglect of routes and offerings deemed as unprofitable. The privatised model was dominated by two basic bus operators, SBS Transit and SMRT Buses. SBS Transit had a market share of 75% before the change in model and operated 5 different bus services. Formed in 1973, it evolved from a bus company to a multi-modular transport operator, retaining bus operations as a subsidiary.  Both companies kept each other in check by acting as the benchmark for the other’s performance, in the areas of service quality, reliability and punctuality. However, profits had been steadily declining with rising costs of fuel prices and labour expenses.

The government contracting model would see ownership of buses and bus infrastructure being transferred to the government, while operators vie for the rights to ply various bus routes through competitive bidding. This would lower the barrier of entry to the market and attract more bus operators into the market, increasing competition for SBS. While the initial phase of the new model would guarantee the incumbent operators an 80% of bus services, more bus services will be tendered out over time. More stringent bus arrival timings have come in place in recent years, under the Bus Service Reliability Framework, placing pressure on bus services to ensure high service standards. In the face of future competition and increased demands from the government, Mr Woon would thus have to position SBS to best tackle the challenges ahead.

Malaysian Airlines

by Assoc Prof Lau Geok Theng and Ms Wong Wan Ting (NUS student)
Case for NUS International Case Competition

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is the national airline of Malaysia. It runs both cargo and passenger services. The airline is also a member of the One World Alliance and serves destinations in over 80 countries. In 2014, two Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flights met with mishap, flight MH370 went missing in March 2014 and flight MH017 crashed in July 2014. MAS had been losing money for three years prior to 2014 as a result of high cost and stiff competition. The airline’s largest loss in its history occurred in 2011, to the tune of RM 2.52 billion. Unprofitable routes were cut and cost cutting measures implemented. However, the tragedies of the missing and crash planes led to high number of cancellations and decline of long haul travel on the airline. Mr Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysian Airlines (MAS) was wondering what strategies MAS should adopt to reverse the impact of both tragedies.

International air travel had been growing steadily between 2009 to 2014. Revenues of the air travel industry have been increasing as well and 2013 saw an estimated $710 billion in revenues. However, higher fuel prices has made the market challenging. With increasing competition between airliners, MAS was able to differentiate itself by being one of just seven airlines nominated by Skytrax as a five-star airline. Its competitors include other five-star airliners, such as Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways of Japan and Qatar Airways, among others. However, the twin tragedies of flights MH370 and MH017 quickly overturned any progress MAS was making in bringing back profits. Should MAS shrink its business and eradicate most of the international routes it flies, to focus on the more profitable routes? Should it rebrand itself and if so, how?

Pour Un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE)

by Assoc Prof Lau Geok Theng and Ms Serene Tan (NUS student)
Case for NUS International Case Competition

In  August  2013,  Mr  Chanratha,  Director  of  General  Education  & Community Development,  Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE),  was wondering what  specific  social  enterprise  programs  could  be  developed  and implemented  to  help  the  sole  bread  winners and/or wives of families relocating  to  SMILE  Village in Cambodia to first  replace  income  derived  from scavenging, and through skills  training, to gradually become self-supporting. Cambodia was one of the world’s poorer nations, the country having been racked by civil war in the latter part of the 20th century. Approximately 4 million people lived on less than US$1.25 per day and 37% of Cambodian children under the age of 5 suffered from chronic malnutrition. More than 50% of the population were less than 25 years old.

PSE was founded by Christian Des Pallières and his wife, Marie-France in 1995. PSE was committed to improving the livelihood of children in Cambodia, specifically those living in the slumps. They provide basic education, vocational training and support services to children from the most impoverished families. The SMILE village project was aimed at finding sustainable solutions in addressing the inhumane living conditions of families of PSE students in order that these children might be educated, and every family might break the bonds of poverty.  The key challenge was to help the poor families relocating to the SMILE village, build the capacity to establish a stable source of income, manage their families and grow as a community. The help of 12 student consulting teams were sought to develop feasible social enterprise ideas for the first smile village and to provide implementation plans for these social enterprise ideas.

Inverted Edge

By Ms Yao Dianchen (NUS student) and Assoc Prof Lau Geok Theng
Case for NUS International Case Competition

In April 2013, Debra Langley, CEO of Inverted Edge, was evaluating how Inverted Edge could enter the China market. Founded in September 2012, the company aimed to take talented independent Asia-Pacifc designers global. They identified the problem that these designers did not have the time, people or resources to sell internationally. A growing number of independent female customers who were looking for uniquely designed styles also provided an attractive market to tap into. To that end, they created an online platform that catered to international orders. Inverted Edge focused on a niche market strategy which targeted customers looking for unique and specially designed wearable styles with good quality and reasonable price. To differentiate itself from competitors, the company aimed to provide a curated selection of styles to its customers while infusing an unexpected journey of discovery of new products on its website.

China’s luxury market has been on an upward trend and is forecasted to take over Japan as the largest luxury market in the world by 2014. Its designer apparel market was also reported to have a 20% growth. Internet retail was also projected to grow by 36.8% over the next 5 years. These factors made the China market very attractive for Inverted Edge to expand their business into. However, it has to contend with strong competition from home grown China fashion online e-retailers such as Dong Liang Studio and Triple Major. Local design labels such as Exception were also starting to make their mark in the Chinese market. Debra therefore wondered how Inverted Edge could reach the target market in China, compete with local and international competitors, and gain penetration and market share in this large market.

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