Should the TSE decide next month to revoke Nikko's share listing -- a decision that bankers and analysts say is too close to call -- Citigroup is increasingly expected to scoop up its smaller investment banking partner. "Citi is champing at the bit," said an executive at a major Japanese bank.
Then further down:
Citigroup fueled speculation about a possible Nikko buyout last month when it said it would establish a Japanese holding company, a move that would make acquisitions easier.
"Citi has said it wants to earn more revenue internationally, so it's possible they could buy the rest of Nikko Cordial," said Helena Ocampo, an analyst at Sentinel Asset Management in Montpelier, Vermont, which owns Citigroup shares.
Then Soble reports on another outfit that might scoop up Nikko:
Citigroup could face a rival bid from Japan's second-biggest bank, Mizuho Financial Group, which owns about 5 percent of Nikko Cordial. Hiroshi Saito, the aggressive head of Mizuho's corporate lending arm, has said he would be open to requests from Nikko for financial aid.
The article goes on to quote an unnamed Mizuho rival who throws cold water on the notion that Mizuho is really able to buy Nikko Cordial.
On a side note, I noticed that Southeastern Asset Management reports that its Longleaf Partners International Fund holds a stake in Nikko Cordial, as of 12/31/06. The holding is listed as 2.5% of fund assets. My hunch is that Longleaf International was in the middle of establishing their position in Nikko when the end of 2006 came. It will be interesting to find out whether or not they've continued buying Nikko Cordial stock since the New Year.
If so, does that guarantee anything? Of course not. But I confess to liking being on the same side with Mason Hawkins and Staley Cates.
NIKOY 1-yr chart