Bureau Chief, Helsinki
Ritsuko's Feed
May 16, 2014

‘Friendly’ activist wins Japan’s trust as hostile funds struggle

TOKYO, May 16 (Reuters) – When activist investor Brian
Heywood first met the newly appointed CEO of Japanese musical
instruments maker Roland Corp over a year ago, he
launched into a passionate discussion about music rather than
the company’s weak finances.

That friendly approach led to a series of conversations on
how to improve its business and culminated in an announcement
this week of a joint 42.6 billion yen ($419.4 million)
management buyout (MBO) by CEO Junichi Miki and Heywood’s Taiyo
Pacific Partners, a fund based in the United States but focused
on Japan.

May 14, 2014

Japan PM to urge company boards to open up in governance push as resolve tested

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to outline plans to improve corporate governance as part of an updated economic strategy next month, aiming to overturn Japan’s reputation for neglecting shareholders and salvage his reform credentials.

The draft plans, which face resistance from Japan’s largest business lobby, would push companies to appoint more outside directors as part of a package aimed in part at winning back overseas investors who have turned skeptical of Abe’s ability to push through politically sensitive reforms on labor and trade.

Apr 23, 2014

Seibu shares rise in Tokyo relisting after IPO price cut

TOKYO, April 23 (Reuters) – Seibu Holdings Inc rose
almost 11 percent on its first day of relisting on the Tokyo
stock market, after its IPO price was slashed due to growing
doubts over the strength of Japan’s economic recovery.

The railway and property company was delisted a decade ago
after a scandal involving falsified shareholder records. Its
shares opened at 1,600 yen on Wednesday, in line with its
initial public offering price, and then closed 10.6 percent
higher at 1,770 yen, outperforming the Nikkei 225 average
which finished up 1.1 percent.

Apr 16, 2014

Mt Gox set to liquidate as court denies rehabilitation

By Ritsuko Ando

(Reuters) – Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, is likely to be liquidated after a Tokyo court dismissed the company’s bid to resuscitate its business, the court-appointed administrator said on Wednesday.

CEO Mark Karpeles is also likely to be investigated for liability in the collapse of the Tokyo-based firm, the provisional administrator, lawyer Nobuaki Kobayashi, said in a statement published on the Mt. Gox website.

Apr 9, 2014

Cerberus pulls out of Seibu IPO as pricing slashed

TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) – Japanese railway and property
conglomerate Seibu Holdings on Wednesday slashed the price of
its initial public offering and said its largest shareholder,
U.S. private equity firm Cerberus, would not participate in one
of Japan’s biggest IPOs this year.

Seibu dropped the tentative price of its IPO by as much as
30 percent to 1,600 to 1,800 yen per share from the initial
estimate of 2,300 it had announced in March.

Apr 9, 2014

Melco Crown’s Packer sees minimum $5 bln investment for Japan casino

TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) – Australian gambling tycoon and
Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd co-chairman James Packer
said it would cost a minimum of $5 billion to develop a casino
and resort complex in Japan should the government legalise
casino gambling.

One of Australia’s richest men, Packer is visiting Japan as
the country’s parliament is preparing to debate legalising
casino gambling, a move that could create a prize market with a
wealthy population and proximity to China.

Apr 8, 2014

Cerberus may sell smaller stake in Seibu share offer -sources

TOKYO, April 8 (Reuters) – U.S. private equity fund Cerberus
could sell a smaller share of Japanese railway and property
group Seibu than planned after investors balked at the proposed
price tag for its stock market listing, two people with
knowledge of the deal said.

A tentative price for the Seibu share sale was set in March
at 2,300 yen per share, valuing the offering at 186 billion yen
and the entire company at 787 billion yen ($7.63 billion).

Apr 1, 2014

Japanese lawyer group to rate 3rd-party probes, fight cozy corporate ties

TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) – A group of Japanese lawyers is
setting up a rating service to evaluate investigations on
corporate scandals amid criticism that third-party panels hired
for things like bribery cases often lack objectivity and help to
whitewash misdeeds.

While the ratings will not carry any legal weight, the group
hopes they will encourage more thorough and independent
investigations.

Mar 27, 2014

With cheap money available, Japan Inc. seen to follow Suntory’s M&A path

TOKYO (Reuters) – More Japanese companies are expected to follow Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd (2587.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in acquiring overseas companies to gain a foothold in faster-growing markets even as global economic uncertainty and a weaker yen temper deal-making.

Japan’s slow domestic growth and cash-heavy balance sheets, together with declining birth rates and an ageing society, have encouraged outbound acquisitions by companies in a broad range of sectors from consumer and retail to finance and electronics.

Mar 27, 2014

ANA orders 70 planes including 20 Boeing 777-9Xs

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s ANA (9202.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) placed its biggest ever order of 70 new planes, including 20 Boeing (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) 777-9X wide-body jets in a move bringing relief to the U.S. planemaker which lost a major Japan Airlines (9201.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) order to rival Airbus last year.

ANA’s 1.7 trillion yen ($16.62 billion) order includes six Boeing 777 aircraft and 14 medium-sized Boeing 787-9 aircraft, as well as 30 single-aisle jets from Airbus’ (AIR.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) A320 family.