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Jul 19, 2013

Universal director altered document on Manila payment, panel says

TOKYO/SAN FRANCISCO, July 19 (Reuters) – A director of
Universal Entertainment Corp altered minutes of a
meeting of executives at the Japanese gaming machine maker to
show they had approved a $25 million payment that is under U.S.
investigation as possible bribery, a report commissioned by the
company says.

The report says that around October 2012 Hajime Tokuda
altered minutes of a November 2009 meeting to show a decision to
make the $25 million payment was made by a board of executive

Jul 9, 2013

As Japan PM Abe weighs labor reform, IBM emerges as test case

TOKYO (Reuters) – When 27-year IBM veteran Martin Jetter came to Tokyo last year, the new president of the technology giant’s Japanese arm had a radical idea: hold workers accountable for performance.

Within months of Jetter’s arrival, IBM Japan fired a group of workers deemed to be underperforming in the kind of restructuring common in many Western countries but rare in Japan, where the most sought-after jobs have carried a promise of lifetime employment.

Jun 9, 2013

Job-cutting foreign banks risk missing Japan trading bonanza

TOKYO/HONG KONG, June 10 (Reuters) – Japan’s stock trading
boom has turned long-suffering equities desks in Tokyo into
profit drivers for global investment banks, with those that
resisted the urge to cut staff when the market was in the
doldrums doing the best.

While market share rankings are not publicly disclosed,
Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities and Citigroup were among
the banks interviewed by Reuters which said they had won a
larger slice of the Tokyo market in recent months. Both put it
down to maintaining broad sales and research coverage even as
volumes dwindled through most of 2012.

May 29, 2013

Suntory core unit approved for listing, plans $4.4 bln IPO

May 29 (Reuters) – Suntory Holdings Ltd received approval to
list its core food and non-alcoholic beverage unit in Tokyo,
paving the way for Asia’s largest initial public offering this
year worth $4.4 billion.

Suntory is raising funds in part for foreign acquisitions,
undeterred by a weakening yen as it competes with rivals Kirin
Holdings Co Ltd and Asahi Group Holdings Ltd
on deals abroad while consumer demand stagnates in Japan.

May 29, 2013

Universal, Robinsons fail to reach deal on Manila casino-sources

TOKYO/MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine property firm Robinsons Land Corp (RLC.PS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp (6425.OS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) have ended talks over a planned joint development of a $2 billion casino-resort complex in Manila without concluding a deal, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Universal, controlled by billionaire founder Kazuo Okada, had been in negotiations with Robinsons Land since late last year over what would be the Philippines’ biggest casino-resort development. Those talks were extended indefinitely after the failure to close a deal by an initial target of end-January.

May 29, 2013

Sprint, SoftBank reach deal with U.S. over security concerns

WASHINGTON/TOKYO (Reuters) – Sprint Nextel Corp and Japan’s SoftBank Corp have reached an agreement with U.S. authorities on the national security aspects of the Japanese firm’s pending $20.1 billion deal to win control of the U.S. wireless carrier, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

As a part of the agreement, the U.S. government will have a veto over new equipment purchases by Sprint in certain circumstances if the two companies merged, one of the sources said.

May 22, 2013

Nomura eyes Asia alliances, boosts Japan asset target

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s largest brokerage firm Nomura Holdings Inc (8604.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Wednesday it was seeking partners to expand its retail and asset management operations in Southeast Asia and was in talks with several financial institutions in the region.

Chief Operating Officer Atsushi Yoshikawa did not name any specific companies but said Nomura would consider taking equity stakes as part of any alliance.

May 14, 2013

U.S. hedge fund calls for Sony Entertainment spin-off

TOKYO (Reuters) – Billionaire hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb on Tuesday called on Sony Corp to spin off its lucrative entertainment arm, setting the stage for a clash between the activist fund and management at the Japanese electronics maker.

Loeb said his Third Point hedge fund had accumulated a little more than 6 percent of Sony’s shares – a stake worth $1.1 billion – making it the largest stakeholder in the inventor of the Walkman portable music player and Trinitron TV.

May 1, 2013

Once bitten, Japan’s big brokers play it safe amid Abenomics boom

TOKYO, May 1 (Reuters) – With losses from ill-fated
expansions still fresh in their minds, executives at Daiwa
Securities Group and other top Japanese brokerages are
waiting to see if the “Abenomics” boost has staying power before
they invest aggressively again.

The industry has enjoyed bumper profits largely as a result
of a 60 percent rally in the Nikkei average since mid-November,
sparked by hopes the economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe would jolt the economy out of its two-decade slumber.

Apr 26, 2013

Italy freezes Nomura assets in Monte Paschi probe

TOKYO/SIENA (Reuters) – Nomura Holdings Inc (8604.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Friday Italian prosecutors had frozen its assets in Italy in connection with a high-profile investigation over a derivatives contract with local lender Banca Monte Dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Nomura Chief Financial Officer Shigesuke Kashiwagi said his bank had been informed on April 23 that Nomura Bank International’s (NBI) assets in Italy had been frozen.