US-Japan M&A Trends Explored at Tokyo Roundtable

Japanese acquirers see opportunities to boost their investments in US companies

December 04, 2012

Latham & Watkins, in conjunction with The Mergermarket Group, hosted a seminar on 4 December, 2012 to review trends in mergers and acquisitions activity between Japan and the United States.  In particular, a panel of experts explored why corporate Japan is looking abroad for new vitality and seeing opportunities in the United States, where factors such as the pace of the US economic recovery and the strong yen have created bargain opportunities.

The seminar was attended by 65 executives who heard about current market trends from the perspective of both Japanese and US parties, and across key industry sectors such as technology, life sciences, manufacturing, consumer and retail.

Michael Yoshii, partner and local Chair of the firm’s Corporate Department in Tokyo, observed: “For their part, Japanese business leaders are breaking with traditional buying trends and setting their sights on new industries within the diverse US economy.”

The panel was introduced by Tokyo-based corporate partner Hiroki Kobayashi, and included US-based Latham M&A partners Paul Tosetti from Los Angeles and Cary Hyden from Orange County, California, both who have advised on numerous trans-Pacific deals over the years. The roundtable also featured three notable market experts: Shinya Hanamura, Head of Advisory Group at Mizuho Securities Company; James Katzman, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions – USA West Coast at the Investment Banker Division of Goldman Sachs; and Yoshihiko Yano, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions – Japan at the Investment Banker Division of Goldman Sachs.

“This event demonstrated the keen interest on both sides of the Pacific to maximize opportunities that can support robust economic activity in Japan and the US,” said Paul Tosetti, who moderated the roundtable. “Cross-border deals always have unique challenges, from addressing the various regulatory regimes to cultural differences that might need to be bridged.  While those challenges still exist for Japan-US transactions, there is a long history of deals and a framework for executing them that make me optimistic that a greater wave of deal activity is developing – which can be very positive for both countries.”

Cary Hyden commented: “Business sectors such as technology, life sciences, consumer and retail are helping to drive the latest deal activity. There are great synergies between the Japanese and US economies, both of which are looking to expand such growth industries and to invest wisely in long-term business prospects.”

The panel discussion covered a range of topics, including:

  • The US business landscape and the rationale for Japanese investments in US companies
  • Financing methods being employed by in trans-Pacific acquisition deals
  • Business sectors in Japan that are expressing the most interest in cross-border M&A Ways in which merged companies are bridging economic and cultural gaps
  • The dominant human resources issues post-acquisition, and how Japanese companies intend to realize global synergies

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