November 30, 2009

Nissan To Merge 2 Osaka Dealerships With Fund

Nissan Motor Co. will integrate two dealership affiliates in Osaka Prefecture at December's end under a new company co-established with Nippon Mirai Capital Co., an Tokyo-based investment firm, according to Nikkei. Nissan and Nippon Mirai have set up a holding company capitalized at 500 million yen. The fund is taking a 51.3% stake, while Nissan will hold 46.2%. Two Osaka-based dealerships will be placed under the holding firm through a stock swap. With new-car sales not recovering anytime soon, Nissan seeks to establish efficient marketing structures. This one is a pilot project. Nissan mentioned that if this works out well, it hopes to consider similar strategies in other regions, referring to a further consolidation of dealerships.

November 27, 2009

Mizuho Capital Partners Unloaded Stake In Japan Pure Chemical

An investment fund operated by Mizuho Capital Partners Co. completed the sale of all its Japan Pure Chemical Co. shares through Wednesday, according to Nikkei. The fund, FBF2000, obtained an 81% stake in Japan Pure Chemical in 1999 through a MBO. By way of IPO in 2002, it gradually reduced its interest in the company to 5.4% as of this March's end. FBF2000 is believed to have sold its remaining stake to a US pension asset management firm. In all, the Mizuho Capital Partners' fund is believed to have amassed around 8 billion yen from share sales off an original investment of 1.45 billion yen.

November 24, 2009

MUFG To Issue Y1tln shares

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group announced last week that it filed a shelf registration to raise up to 1 trillion yen's worth of capital by issuing common shares. MUFG, Japan's largest bank, plans to issue the shares within one year. Due to the recent move by global regulators to push for a stricter capital requirement for financial institutions, Japanese banks have been seeking opportunities to raise capital.

November 20, 2009

JIP To Plan To Buy Subsidiary Of Yamaha

Yamaha Corporation has announced that it has decided to begin negotiations regarding the transfer of Yamaha's holdings of shares in its wholly owned subsidiary Yamaha Livingtec Corporation (YLT) with Japan Industrial Partners, Inc.(JIP). YLT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha in the housing fixtures and equipment business, primarily engaged in the manufacturing and sale of system kitchens and system bathrooms. Under the current negotiation, JIP would invest in YLT and provide various forms of supports to expand the operation of YLT. The goal will be to reach a final agreement in spring 2010.

November 18, 2009

TPG Might Invest in JAL

TPG, a US private equity firm, is prepared to invest as much as 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in Japan Airlines Corp., as part of a coordinated effort with American Airlines Inc. to support the struggling carrier, according to Nikkei. Assuming that the Japanese government approves, TPG will work with American Airlines to assist in JAL's turnaround. Both AA and JAL belong to the oneworld global alliance, which involves code-sharing and cross-honoring of frequent flier miles.

November 17, 2009

Hitachi To Raise Up To Y415 bln From Share, Bond Issuance

Hitachi Ltd., the Japanese electronics conglomerate, announced that it will raise up to 415.67 billion yenm ($4.5 billion) from an issuance of new shares and convertible bonds to fund capital outlays and pay back its loans. Hitachi said it will issue 1.09 billion new shares to the public with an additional offering of 60 million new shares in case of excessive demand. The combined number of new shares accounts for as much as 34% of Hitachi's current shares outstanding.

November 16, 2009

Bain To Buy Bellsystem24

Bain Capital LLC will buy Bellsystem 24 Inc., Japanaese call center form Citigroup Inc. for 120 billion yen ($1.34 billion). The US private equity firm will receive 79 billion yen's worth of loans from Sumitomo Mitsui financial Group Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. to help fund the transaction. The deal is the biggest private equity-related transaction this year, topping Goldman Sachs Group's $1.1 billion buyout of USJ Co., operator of Universal Studio's theme park, in March.

Japan GDP Up by 4.8% in July-Sept Quarter

Japan's 2009 Q3 (July-Sept) GDP grew an annualized real 4.8 percent for the second straight quarter, following a 2.7 percent p.a. increase in Q2.

In the July-Sept quarter, consumer spending, which makes up about 60 percent of Japanese GDP, rose a real 0.7 percent from the April-June quarter, as durable goods spending increased on tax breaks on eco-cars and a government reward program for purchases of greener consumer electronics increased. Corporate capital spending also rose 1.6 percent for the first increase in six quarters. Japanese exports increased 6.4 percent, reflecting higher demand from other Asian countries, while imports rose by 3.4 percent.

Despite the GDP growth in real terms, nominal GDP fell 0.1 percent from the last quarter reflecting price decrease.

The Bank of Japan forecasted in its twice-yearly outlook released Oct. 30 that Japan's economy will grow about 1.2 percent next fiscal year (April 2009 - March 2010) after shrinking 3.2 percent in fiscal 2009.

November 13, 2009

FamilyMart To Buy Smaller Rival am/pm

FamilyMart Co. , the nation's No.3 convenience store operator, has agreed to purchase smaller rival am/pm Japan Co. for more than 10 billion yen, according to Nikkei. FamilyMart, which has around 7,600 locations throughout Japan, sees the acquisition boosting its competitiveness to overtake the top ranked Seven-Eleven and No2 Lawson. am/pm owns roughly 1,100 stores with about 70% located in the growing Tokyo market. Earlier this year Lawson agreed to purchase am/pm but abandoned those plans due to demands by the US trademark owner, am/pm international Inc., that a majority of the stores retain the brand name.

November 11, 2009

Toshiba Bid For Areva Power Grid Unit With INCJ

Toshiba Corp. had tendered the highest bid for French nuclear giant Areva SA's power transmission and distribution equipment unit, offering slightly more than 4 billion euros, according to Nikkei. Toshiba put in the bid in a partnership with public-private investment fund Innovation Network Corp. of Japan. The Areva unit manufactures transformers, control systems, and other key equipment for power grids. Toshiba, which offers such equipment in Japan and other Asian countries, will be able to go global and roughly triple sales from this business through the deal.

November 10, 2009

Chimney To Go Private Via MBO with Carlyle

Chimney Co., a midsize chain operator of Japanese-styled pubs announced that an investment firm of Carlyle Group will conduct a tender offer at 2,260 yen a share between Nov. 9 and Dec. 21. The tender offer price is a 37% premium over its six-month average. The goal is to acquire at least a 75% stake in Chimney and delist the company from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The acquisition cost would be around 20.8 billion yen if all shared are acquired. This would be approximately equivalent to 4 x EBITDA based on the figure provided by Chimney's latest financial filing. Chimney's top shareholder Yonekyu Corp., a listed meat packer, has agreed to the terms of the offer. Chimney, whose pub sales have declined for 8 consecutive months under anemic consumer spending and intensifying price competition, hopes to expand such business as providing food services to public entities and restaurant chains with daytime hours to target medium-to long-term growth with help from Carlyle Group.

November 06, 2009

Bain In Exclusive Talks For Citi's Bellsystem24

Bain Capital has won exclusive rights to negotiate with Citigroup Inc. to buy Bellsystem24, Japan's largest operator of call centers in a deal that could be worth more than $1 billion, according to Reuters. Bain will retain that right until Friday this week. Bain Capital opened an office in Japan in 2006.

November 05, 2009

Unison Rocked By Insider Trading Allegations

Unison Capital Inc., one of Japan's biggest investment firms, has been shaken by suspicions of insider trading surrounding a former member of its inner circle, according to Nikkei. The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission conducted a snap inspection of Unison's Tokyo headquarters Oct. 27 and questioned one of the company's then six partners. Unison fired the partner the same day.

November 04, 2009

Panasonic's Tender Offer For Sanyo At Last

Panasonic Corp. plans to launch its tender offer for Sanyo Electric Co. this week now that most global antitrust watchdogs have given their blessings to the planned acquisition, according to Nikkei. Panasonic and Sanyo had originally announced their plan a year ago, but the process has been delayed as antitrust regulation in 11 major markets have closely evaluated potential competition issues.

November 02, 2009

BancTech To Go Private Via MBO

BancTech Japan Inc., a listed information technology company announced that it approved a tender offer launched by BT investment Co., an investment firm established by the CEO of BancTech Japan Inc. Jafco, a leading VC firm, is the top shareholder, who agreed to the tender offer. BT investment aims to acquire all shares at 84,500 (last week closed at 48,800 yen) with a cost of around 10 billion yen. It uses mezzanine finance provided by Chuo Mitsu Capital Co., an investment arm of Chuo Mitsui Trust Group. BancTech will be delisted from the Jasdaq market.