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Jun 2, 2014

Japan’s Dai-ichi Life in talks to buy U.S. insurer Protective Life: source

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese insurer Dai-ichi Life Co is in advanced talks to buy Protective Life Corp of the United States in a deal that could be worth over $5 billion, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

The deal would be the biggest so far in a string of overseas acquisitions by Japanese insurers, led by Dai-ichi Life, seeking out higher-growth markets to offset weak long-term prospects at home as the country’s population ages rapidly.

Jun 2, 2014

Dai-ichi Life in advanced talks to buy U.S. insurer Protective Life: source

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese insurer Dai-ichi Life Co is in advanced talks to buy Protective Life Corp of the United States, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said, in a deal likely to be worth over $5 billion, the biggest acquisition by a Japanese insurer.

Dai-ichi Life, Japan’s second-largest private-sector life insurer, plans to buy 100 percent of Birmingham, Alabama-based Protective Life, said the source, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. If completed, the deal would be the latest in a string of overseas acquisitions by Japanese insurers, seeking to offset weak future prospects at home amid a rapidly ageing population.

May 31, 2014

Online banking thefts hit Japan firms prompting compensation rethink

TOKYO, May 31 (Reuters) – Hackers stole nearly $2 million
from the online bank accounts of Japanese businesses in April, a
surge in theft that has prompted some banks to curtail online
services and rethink compensation policies, executives and
regulators say.

In April there were 50 cases of theft from online accounts
held by Japanese businesses with nearly 200 million yen stolen,
according to a person with knowledge of the industry-wide tally,
which has not been made public. That was more than the entire
previous year.

May 19, 2014

Consolidation necessary for Japan regional bank survival: ex-FSA Commissioner

TOKYO (Reuters) – The former head of Japan’s banking regulator said consolidation is necessary for regional banks to survive a climate of dwindling borrowers, as it will allow them to extend riskier and therefore more profitable forms of financing.

Regional lenders mainly extend low-risk loans to small and mid-sized businesses, but have long been suffering from falling demand as the population ages. To win borrowers, banks have lowered interest rates at the expense of profitability.

May 14, 2014

Japan’s megabanks see profit drop after record year of “Abenomics”

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s three biggest banks beat
market forecasts with record annual profits, fuelled by a stock
market boom, but said earnings will fall this business year as
the glow of “Abenomics” fades and lending gains remain
restrained.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) on
Wednesday forecast only a modest pullback in profit for the
business year that began in April, while the other two
“megabanks” expect double-digit declines.

May 14, 2014

Japan megabanks see profit drop after Abenomics record year

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s three biggest banks beat
market forecasts with record annual profits, fuelled by a stock
market boom, but said earnings will fall this business year as
the glow of “Abenomics” fades and lending gains remain
restrained.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) on
Wednesday forecast a modest pullback in profit for the business
year that began in April.

May 14, 2014

Japan bank profits set to fall but overseas ops to buoy MUFG

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Japanese banks’ profits are likely
to fall this business year from last when stock-related gains
sent earnings soaring, but the overseas reach of Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group Inc (MUFG) will ensure the biggest
lender by assets loses out the least.

MUFG will boost profit with its 20 percent stake in U.S.
bank Morgan Stanley and near three-quarter ownership of
Thailand’s fifth-largest lender, while Mizuho Financial Group
Inc and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (SMFG)
contend primarily with a dim outlook for local lending.

May 8, 2014

Japan’s Suntory to sell $8 bln in debt to fund Beam buy -sources

TOKYO, May 8 (Reuters) – Suntory Holdings Ltd
aims to raise more than 800 billion yen ($8 billion) in debt to
finance its purchase of U.S. spirits company Beam Inc, Japan’s
third-biggest outbound deal ever, people with knowledge of the
deal said on Thursday.

The privately held beverage company is tapping a range of
lenders to buy senior and subordinated loans in yen and dollars,
as well as dollar bonds, to ensure longer-term funding of its
recently completed $13.6 billion purchase of the maker of Jim
Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbons, the people said.

Apr 28, 2014

Japan’s Orix agrees to buy Hartford Japan unit for $895M

TOKYO, April 28 (Reuters) – Japan’s Orix Corp has
agreed to buy Hartford Financial Services Group’s
Japanese unit for $895 million as part of efforts to expand its
life insurance business in the world’s third-largest economy.

Orix is one of the most acquisitive Japanese financial
companies, saying last week it would buy a precious metal and
jewellery recycler from Baring Private Equity Asia in a deal
sources priced at around 21 billion yen ($204.7 million). Last
year, it spent about $2.6 billion on Dutch asset manager Robeco.

Apr 22, 2014

Japan’s Mizuho names ex-minister as chairwoman in management revamp

TOKYO (Reuters) – Scandal-hit Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has nominated former economy minister Hiroko Ota as chairwoman, as Japan’s second-largest bank strives to improve corporate governance by bringing in more outsiders.

Mizuho shareholders will vote on the nomination in June after which Ota, 60, could become one of the highest-ranking women in an industry which only recently started to appoint female executive officers.