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Joint venture success arouses envy

A joint venture that can only be described as a success, Nikko Salomon Smith Barney is a rare creature, and other banks in Japan are green with envy.

Nikko Salomon Smith Barney is a rare creature. It's a joint venture that can only be described as a success. And it has the other banks in Japan green with envy. In equity underwriting it's at the top of the pile, and it's also moving up the tables in the M&A business. Thomson's league table for advisers for Japan places it fourth, behind the usual suspects of Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. Morgan Stanley is now looking over its shoulder because in 2000, Nikko Salomon Smith Barney was only $500,000 behind. And it was involved in more transactions: 23 compared with MSDW's 18.

In both the equity capital markets and the M&A side, the Japanese name Nikko has undoubtedly brought benefits. "The Nikko relationship has helped absolutely," says David Hatt, managing director in charge of equity capital markets. "Nikko has given us a whole new dimension in terms of capability and access to corporate Japan."

SSB acquired the capability and access because Nikko quite simply was in trouble. And Sandy Weill, chairman and chief executive officer of Citigroup, who is described by one banking competitor as being the best bottom fisher in the universe, picked up a powerful franchise and a client list that would have taken years to build.

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