Nomura targets cross-border, Asia focused M&A

In these times of banking bailouts and gloomy results, it’s refreshing to read about a firm that is bucking the trend. Nomura Holdings Inc unveiled its biggest profit in nine quarters on Wednesday, suggesting that its push into overseas bond and equity markets is paying off.

But as Sadeq Sayeed, chief executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told reporters on a conference call, it doesn’t take much to get clients to transact with an investment bank. “They will trade with you if you provide them with systems, prices, liquidity and clear and careful settlements,” he said.

Nomura’s mergers and acquisitions business is expected to take longer to mature. “The fact that we are even in the top 12 (for European M&A) is quite remarkable given that we were essentially a start up in the investment banking world as of January this year,” Sayeed added. 

And his ambitions for the M&A team this time next year? He wants the bank to be the very best when it comes to business related to Asia and cross-border M&A in its chosen sectors.

For a glimpse into Nomura’s thinking about the US, have a look at the story I wrote earlier.

DealZone Daily

Japan’s Monex Group will buy the securities unit of Orix Corp for about $246 million in stock, in a deal that will create the country’s second-largest online broker.

By forming a broker with more than $23 billion in client assets they will be able to cut systems and other costs and beef up product and service line-ups, they said.

In other M&A news reported by Reuters and other media:

Speculation about a possible takeover of UK retailer Debenhams was raised after private equity firm TPG sells its 9 percent stake, the FT says.

DealZone Daily

Japanese banks Sumitomo Trust and Chuo Mitsui Trust Holdings are in merger talks, two sources familiar with the matter tell Reuters, bringing together two struggling trust banks to better compete in Japan’s lucrative asset management industry.

Sumitomo Trust, Japan’s fifth-largest bank, this month completed a deal to acquire to acquire Citigroup’s Japanese asset manager Nikko Asset Management for $1.2 billion.

In other M&A news reported by Reuters and other media:

Bank of New York Mellon sees more acquisition opportunities in Europe than in Asia, the head of the world’s largest custodian of financial assets tells Reuters. European financial firms have been harder hit by the global economic crisis than their counterparts in Asia and are refocusing as a result.

DealZone Daily

Dutch bancassurer ING says it will split itself in two as part of a restructuring deal with the European Commission, transforming itself over the next four years into a smaller Europe-focused bank.

It is also launching a 7.5 billion euro rights issue to pay back 50 percent of its aid from the Dutch state early.

Also in the Netherlands, brewer Heineken has held discussions to buy the brewing operations of Mexican conglomerate Femsa, the Financial Times reports.

DealZone Daily

Talk continues to swirl around Kraft’s potential bid for Cadbury. On Thursday Reuters reported a top shareholder in the British confectioner would accept 820 pence a share — well above Kraft’s first cash and shares offer but only a little higher than where the stock has been trading in recent days.

Activist investor Nelson Peltz, who has stakes in both Cadbury and Kraft, may now become a factor, a report says. A contractual obligation not to criticise Kraft’s management comes to an end on Friday. Will fireworks ensue when the gag is removed?

Other deal-related news in Friday’s papers include:

* BP Plc (BP.L) has had talks with Ghana’s national oil company about a possible joint bid for Kosmos Energy’s stake in the huge Jubilee oilfield off the coast of the country, Bloomberg said, citing two people familiar with the matter.

DealZone Daily

Insurance companies are the focus of many deals pages on Thursday, with Prudential eyeing a listing in Asia, AXA moving to sell a stake in China’s Taikang and Aviva detailing its restructuring now the Delta Lloyd IPO is moving.

Other deal news today includes:

* South Korea’s Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) has agreed to buy Canada’s Harvest Energy Trust for C$1.8 billion, the Canadian company said.

* Brazilian telecoms company GVT hired the local investment banking units of Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs to help it respond to takeover attempts by two global rivals.

DealZone Daily

With just over two months to the end of the year, there is a sense that time is running out for getting deals done in 2009. Many of the long-running deal sagas are coming to a close, or are getting done. Overnight, news emerged that BAA has finally agreed a 1.5 billion pound sale of British airport Gatwick.

Other deal news in the papers on Wednesday include:

* U.S. Bancorp is eyeing FBOP Corp, an owner of eight banks that may be put up for sale by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC), the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the situation.

* National Express’s largest shareholder, Spain’s Jorge Cosmen, supports a merger proposal by British bus and rail operator Stagecoach, the Financial Times reported.

DealZone Daily

The end of the year looks set to be full of news of rights issues and IPOs as share investors are offered a bet on next year’s economic recovery.

The travails of UK transport firm National Express fill many of Tuesday’s business pages, with rivals First Group and Stagecoach both in the frame for a bid, while the debt-laden company finalises plans for a rights issue. For other Reuters stories on deals, click here.

Other stories in Tuesday’s newspapers include:

- Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management is in advanced preparations to take rifle and ammunition maker Freedom Group Inc public, the Wall Street Journal reports.

DealZone Daily

A consortium led by Spain’s Cosmen family has decided against making a takeover offer for National Express after spending a month poring over the British bus and train operator’s books, Reuters reported on Friday.

In other news:

Stricken Dutch bank DSB failed to reach a deal with major Dutch banks in late night talks on Thursday aimed at finding an option for DSB’s survival, Dutch media reported.

China Merchants Bank, which is raising 22 billion yuan ($3.22 billion) through a rights issue, won’t unveil new fund raising plans over the next three years, the China Securities Journal reported on Friday, citing president Ma Weihua.

DealZone Daily

Cisco Systems plans to buy advanced wireless equipment maker Starent Networks Corp for $2.9 billion to boost its product offerings as phone carriers build out next generation networks, Reuters reports.

In other stories on Wednesday:

Royal Bank of Scotland Group is considering a government-backed plan to give up all 312 of its RBS-branded branches in England and Wales in a move to satisfy European authorities, the Financial Times says.

Las Vegas Sands, which is seeking to raise up to $2.5 billion by listing its Macau assets on the Hong Kong stock exchange, could launch the initial public offering by late November, the South China Morning Post reports.