Nikko Cordial: Mizuho Financial Plans to Sell Entire Stake to Citigroup

Includes: C, MFG, NIKOY
by: John Bethel

Japanese news service Kyodo reports that Mizuho Financial (NYSE:MFG) plans to sell its 4.8% Nikko Cordial (OTC:NIKOY) stake to Citigroup (NYSE:C). Reuters reports that the English language version of Kyodo's report cites "sources close to the bid."

If Kyodo's reporting is accurate, this marks a major step forward for Citigroup in its takeover attempt.

As you know, Citi upped its bid to 1,700 yen per share (roughly US$14.62) from the original offer of 1,350 yen. The big catalyst in the increased offer was the announcement -- surprisingly early -- that Nikko would not be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Another major factor as that Nikko's four major shareholders, which own a combined 26% of the company, objected to the original takeover price.

Citi has stated that it has no intention of increasing its bid a second time. And the four major shareholders haven't yet commented on the 1,700 yen takeover offer price. This despite the fact that two of them, Southeastern Asset Management and Orbis Investment Management, have stated that Nikko is worth 2,000 yen per share.

After the first offer was announced, Mizuho remained silent. If it does sell its stake to Citigroup, that could be an indication of wider sentiment.