Bureau Chief, Helsinki
Ritsuko's Feed
Apr 24, 2015

Sony’s Hirai faces attack from activist ‘old boys’: sources

TOKYO (Reuters) – A group of former top Sony Corp executives has delivered an unusually blunt critique to the firm’s chief executive Kazuo Hirai, accusing him of losing sight of innovation by focusing on cost-cutting.

At a meeting at Sony’s Tokyo headquarters last Thursday, five former executives, including PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi, took Hirai to task for failing to encourage the kind of creativity that helped produce iconic gadgets such as the Walkman, according to three people familiar with the meeting.

Apr 16, 2015

Japan’s Sharp, banks near $1.7 billion bailout deal: source

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Sharp Corp and its main banks are set to agree on Thursday to a $1.7 billion rescue and restructuring plan that will likely include a promise to split off its ailing smartphone display business, a person involved in the discussions said.

As part of its second major bailout in three years, Sharp’s lenders, Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, will inject a combined 200 billion yen ($1.7 billion) in a debt-for-equity swap, the source said, declining to be identified as he is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Mar 26, 2015

Japan’s Panasonic says ready for 1 trillion yen M&A spree as profit jumps

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese electronics supplier Panasonic Corp said it was ready to spend 1 trillion yen (5.62 billion pounds) on acquisitions over the next four years, emboldened by a stronger profit outlook for its automotive and housing technology businesses.

Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said at a briefing on Thursday that Panasonic doesn’t have specific acquisition targets in mind for now. But he said the firm will spend around 200 billion yen on M&A in the fiscal year that kicks off in April alone, and pledged to improve on Panasonic’s patchy track record on big deals.

Mar 26, 2015

Japan’s Panasonic says ready for $8.4 bln M&A spree as profit jumps

TOKYO, March 26 (Reuters) – Japanese electronics supplier
Panasonic Corp said it was ready to spend 1 trillion
yen ($8.4 billion) on acquisitions over the next four years,
emboldened by a stronger profit outlook for its automotive and
housing technology businesses.

Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said at a briefing on
Thursday that Panasonic doesn’t have specific acquisition
targets in mind for now. But he said the firm will spend around
200 billion yen on M&A in the fiscal year that kicks off in
April alone, and pledged to improve on Panasonic’s patchy track
record on big deals.

Mar 6, 2015

Sharp asks turnaround fund for help, on top of aid from banks -source

TOKYO, March 6 (Reuters) – Loss-making Sharp Corp
has asked a domestic corporate turnaround fund to invest up to
$250 million in capital – aid which would come on top of plans
to tap its two main lenders for a second major bailout, a source
said on Friday.

Weak sales of smartphone screens in China, aggravated by an
unexpected comeback by rival Japan Display Inc, have
derailed Sharp’s recovery efforts. It has warned of its third
annual net loss in four years and is now working on a fresh plan
to overhaul its business.

Mar 5, 2015

Lenders want bold overhaul of Japan’s Sharp as another bailout looms

TOKYO (Reuters) – Loss-making Japanese electronics firm Sharp Corp meets its main banks on Thursday in an effort to secure its second major bailout since 2012, betting they will have little choice but to pay up despite their call for more drastic overhauls.

Sharp Chief Executive Kozo Takahashi will meet officials from Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, hoping to discuss further funding and buy time, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Feb 21, 2015

Japan’s Fanuc must do buybacks, capex plan no fix: Loeb

TOKYO (Reuters) – Activist investor Daniel Loeb said Fanuc Corp’s plan to boost investments was not enough to fix its “blatant capital inefficiency”, stepping up calls for the Japanese industrial robot maker to reward shareholders through major buybacks.

Loeb, whose hedge fund Third Point holds an undisclosed stake in Fanuc, told Reuters by email the plan to double investment in a new factory would go little toward addressing the “an embarrassment of riches” on the firm’s balance sheet.

Feb 18, 2015

Sony sees 25-fold profit jump by 2018 through videogames, sensors

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sony Corp aims to boost its operating profit 25-fold within three years by focusing on its more profitable image sensors, videogame and entertainment businesses, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Outlining his strategy for the loss-making Japanese consumer electronics icon to 2018, CEO Kazuo Hirai said Sony wanted to give its subsidiaries more autonomy in decision making to help drive growth.

Feb 17, 2015

Japan’s Kintetsu Express to buy Singapore’s APL Logistics for $1.2 bln -source

TOKYO/SINGAPORE, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Japanese freight carrier
Kintetsu World Express Inc said it was in final stages
of talks to buy Singapore’s APL Logistics, becoming the latest
firm in Japan to pursue ambitious billion-dollar deals overseas
amid slow domestic growth.

Kintetsu Express said on Tuesday it couldn’t comment on
details of the transaction, which it said was not yet official.
A spokesman said the firm would make an announcement regarding
the deal later in the day.

Feb 16, 2015

Japan’s Fanuc doubles investment plan days after Third Point challenge

TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Japanese industrial robot maker
Fanuc Corp on Monday said it would double its planned
investment in a new factory, a week after hedge fund Third Point
called on the firm to use its cash pile to boost shareholder
returns by buying back shares.

The cash-rich company said its decision to spend 100 billion
yen ($844 million) on land and construction was unrelated to
Third Point saying in a quarterly investor letter that Fanuc’s
capital structure “does nothing for shareholder value”.