SBI mulls further buying after tender offer for Shinsei Bank

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — SBI Holdings Inc. is considering acquiring additional shares in Shinsei Bank in the market if its equity stake in the Japanese bank does not reach its tender offer’s upper limit of 48 %, Jiji Press learned Friday.

The major Japanese online financial group plans to make the bank a consolidated subsidiary through the tender offer, which finished on Friday. The results of the offer are slated to be announced on Saturday.

Whether SBI’s equity stake has reached 48 % remains to be seen. It is believed to have been partly affected by the response of an investment firm with a stake of over 9 % in Shinsei Bank. The firm is related to a former investment fund run by Japanese activist investor Yoshiaki Murakami.

SBI hopes to raise its stake in Shinsei Bank as high as possible, in order to secure majority support for its nominations to the bank’s board at an extraordinary meeting of the bank’s shareholders expected to be held as soon as early February, informed sources said.

The group has proposed appointing former Financial Services Agency Commissioner Hirofumi Gomi as chairman of Shinsei Bank.

After new Shinsei Bank directors are appointed, the group is considering applying for approval to manage a bank holding company and acquiring over half of shares in the bank. The bank’s current directors will step down.

SBI plans to make Shinsei Bank one of the group’s core companies and increase its corporate value, including through collaboration with regional banks, while aiming to repay the public funds of about ¥349 billion injected into the bank.

SBI launched a tender offer to buy Shinsei Bank shares at ¥2,000 apiece on Sept. 10 this year. At First, Shinsei Bank opposed the offer and aimed to adopt takeover defense measures.

However, the bank said on Nov. 24 that it has changed its stance on the SBI offer to “neutral,” with the Japanese government, which owns over 20 % of Shinsei Bank shares, including through Deposit Insurance Corp. of Japan, reportedly poised not to support the defense measures.

Shinsei Bank then dropped its planned defense measures and canceled an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting that was scheduled for Nov. 25 to vote on the measures.