Japanese banking heavyweight Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has tarted up its offer for California bank UnionBanCal by 17 percent to $3.5 billion. That’s $73.5 per share and above the $70 that market insiders were expecting. MUFG already owns 35 percent of the California lender, and is hoping that more exposure to the subprime stricken west coast will help revitalize its core business. Analysts are skeptical this strategy – no matter how cheap or well insulated from the subprime meltdown the U.S. assets appear – will have the desired results. MUFG’s first quarter net profit fell by 66 percent on a lousy economy and anemic credit conditions, and the bank has forecast virtually no growth this year. Investors looking to get a foot in the door could be betting that banks with significant foreign stakes will be more likely to be pursued.
Nothing humming for GM in Asia. Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s top utility vehicle maker, says it is not interested in buying the brand that has become synonymous with the guzzling of gas, but will instead focus on its own models for the key U.S. market. “There has been a lot of speculation. I want to say categorically we are not pursuing Hummer,” Vice Chairman Anand Mahindra said at a news conference. In China, a source says Hunan Changfeng Motor has backed off from preliminary takeover talks. GM has explored a sale in Russia, as well, sources have said. Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s car unit, Russian Machines, last week also denied it was seeking to buy Hummer.
Bankers for Bradford & Bingley have been left to sell over 70 percent of its 400 million pound cash call, the UK lender said, as it hired the former head of rival Alliance & Leicester to draw a line under its troubles. The mortgage bank, which has seen a torrid three months since it first surprised the market with news of an emergency rights issue, named City veteran Richard Pym as chief executive with immediate effect. Underwriters Citi and UBS now have until Friday to place the remainder of the cut-price, twice-restructured offering.
Michael Page Chief Executive Steve Ingham has reiterated his demand for Britain’s Takeover Panel to issue a “put up or shut up” notice to Swiss suitor Adecco, the world’s biggest staffing agency. Ingham admitted, however, that the group’s Friday rejection of Adecco’s 400 pence a share or 1.3 billion pound ($2.43 billion) offer proposal is “not the end of the matter”. Earlier, Adecco said it was keeping all options open and refused to rule out a hostile offer. Adecco has said it will keep pursuing Michael Page despite the rejection.
Other deals of the day:
* South Korea’s STX Group said it was more than doubling its stake in No. 1 European ship maker Aker Yards, to 88.4 percent through a $635.5 million tender offer as it seeks to grow its portfolio of businesses.