The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.


All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

No unfriendly M&A please, we’re Japanese

Mergers and acquisitions are the hot topic in Tokyo as corporate Japan shifts into investment mode. And although Japan’s M&A market is flawed, structural changes are slowly under way and global bulge-bracket firms will be the ­ultimate winners. Chris Leahy reports.

Change is coming – but not in a rush


HOSTILE TAKEOVERS ARE hardly life-changing events for investment bankers but Oji Paper’s aggressive bid for rival Hokuetsu Paper Mills in July 2006, arguably Japan’s first ever hostile takeover attempt, was different.

“It was one of the most exciting days of my life,” says the head of M&A at a US bulge-bracket bank, “I really thought it would be the start of hostile bids in Japan.”

Alas for bankers in the Tokyo M&A departments of other global investment banks, it was not to be. Within weeks, Hokuetsu had outmanoeuvred Oji Paper simply by selling blocking stakes to Mitsubishi Corporation and Nippon Paper: deals that had no industrial logic but effectively scuppered the Oji Paper deal.

“It’s very hard to orchestrate a successful hostile bid in Japan,” says John Ozeki, head of M&A at JPMorgan in Japan. “It’s very unfortunate: hostile takeovers can really open up the equity market.”

Few bankers are predicting a flood of hostile bids in Japan despite the seminal move by Oji Paper. However, the deal was no less important for that, say bankers.

“While I don’t expect a flow of overtly hostile bids any time soon,” says Steven Thomas, managing director and co-head of Japan M&A at UBS, “where people put logical and sensible ideas to companies that are rebuffed by management, they may seek to put their proposals directly to shareholders.”


You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree