Nikko Cordial Keeps TSE Listing: Bad News for Citigroup?

Includes: C, NIKOY
by: John Bethel

The news that Nikko Cordial (OTC:NIKOY) is keeping its Tokyo Stock Exchange listing adds significant pressure on Citigroup (NYSE:C) to increase its takeover offer. Now, Japanese-based investment managers don't have to worry about Nikko being delisted and thereby being more or less forced to accept the Citi's price.

This latest development comes on the heels of Nikko's four largest shareholders rejecting the deal. As you'll read in the linked Bloomberg report:

"Citigroup's going to have to change its strategy,'' said Hiroyuki Maekawa, an analyst at Deutsche Securities Inc. in Tokyo who has a "hold'' rating on the stock. "It's unlikely investors will sell at such a low price.''

I think that's true. I read one report that Mackenzie/Cundill people met have with Nikko officers to go over Citigroup's offer. The Mackenzie/Cundill folks told Nikko that they like the deal as structured -- they just don't like the price offered shareholders.

So the Citi takeover of Nikko makes strategic sense. But without the threat of delisting from the TSE, the lowball offer no longer looks like it will fly.