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Japanese Banking Giant Mitsubishi to Acquire Rival

August 13, 2004|From Associated Press

TOKYO — Japanese banking group UFJ Holdings Inc. agreed Thursday to be acquired by Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc. in a deal that would create the world's largest bank by assets.

The two companies' presidents said the integration of holding companies, banks, trust banks and securities companies would be completed by Oct. 1, 2005, subject to authorities' approval. Financial terms were not disclosed, although Mitsubishi had offered UFJ as much as $6.3 billion.

"We are very happy to be able to announce this basic agreement. We believe we are entering a new stage," UFJ Holdings President Ryosuke Tamakoshi told reporters.

The new holding company would be called Mitsubishi UFJ Holdings. Tamakoshi would become chairman of the company, and Mitsubishi President Nobuo Kuroyanagi would become president, they said. Branch closures and job cuts were not discussed.

The combined bank would have total assets of about $1.7 trillion. Citigroup Inc., now the world's largest financial institution, had $1.4 trillion at the end of the second quarter.

The announcement came a day after the Tokyo High Court reversed a July 27 decision by a lower court ordering a halt to talks between Mitsubishi and UFJ.

Another bank, Sumitomo Trust, had sought an injunction against the merger, citing an earlier agreement it had to buy UFJ's trust banking operations. UFJ scrapped that deal when it began talks with Mitsubishi Tokyo last month.

Sumitomo says the trust banking deal is legally binding and is appealing to Japan's Supreme Court.

Complicating the issue, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, which includes Sumitomo Trust, had put in a bid for UFJ.

Tamakoshi said he had not decided when to formally reject Sumitomo Mitsui's bid.

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