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Daiwa Securities Takes Bold Step with Aozora Bank Amid Market Struggles


Lauren Miller

May 14, 2024 - 01:04 am


Daiwa Securities Grapples with Market After Major Aozora Bank Investment

In a striking turn of events, Daiwa Securities Group Inc., one of Japan’s premier brokerages, has seen its shares undergo a significant downturn post the announcement of its strategic stake in Aozora Bank Ltd. This decision comes on the heels of Aozora Bank experiencing its first loss in over a decade.

Daiwa’s Share Value Stumbles Following Strategic Move

Shares of Daiwa Securities fell precipitously, marking a 6.4% decline, the most substantial drop since April last year, unsettling investors and market spectators alike. On the flip side, Aozora Bank, which grappled with its own set of challenges, saw its shares surge to a 5.8% increase, a peak not witnessed in the last couple of months.

Upon investing an estimated 51.4 billion yen (equivalent to $330 million) in Aozora Bank's newly issued shares, Daiwa has acquired approximately 15.6% of voting rights. Such a move positions Daiwa as the primary shareholder, a status supported by data compiled by Bloomberg.

Aozora’s Market Shock: A Portfolio in Peril

Aozora Bank sent waves through the market this past February when it disclosed significant losses related to its US office property loans—a revelation that raised eyebrows and concern. Adding to the intrigue, City Index Eleventh—a fund linked with Yoshiaki Murakami, Japan's influential activist investor—has established an 8.9% stake in Aozora Bank, signaling a bold move from the prominent Japanese actor.

This dynamic has not gone unnoticed by industry analysts. Koichi Niwa from Citigroup Inc. points to potential instabilities in Daiwa's future earnings, noting the associated risks from Aozora Bank’s real estate ventures in the United States and equity investments. Despite these concerns, Niwa also recognizes potential growth with enhanced service offerings for Daiwa's clientele across retail and corporate sectors.

A Collaborative Future: Daiwa and Aozora’s Four-Pronged Plan

In the wake of this deal, Daiwa and Aozora Bank have vowed to join forces across four critical sectors: wealth management, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, and nurturing startups. As part of this collaboration, Aozora Bank will welcome a Daiwa-nominated candidate as an outside director to its board.

Deal Dynamics Indifferent to City Index Eleventh's Influence

Aozora’s president, Hideto Oomi, has been firm in stating that the capital alliance with Daiwa is untouched by City Index Eleventh’s investment narrative. For its part, City Index Eleventh declined to offer any remarks regarding the partnership.

Oomi shared insights into the strategic thinking behind this partnership at a recent briefing. Emphasizing adaptation in the face of an evolving banking landscape, Oomi envisions the partnership as a bridge to complement Aozora Group’s existing capabilities and promote further growth.

Confronting Loss and Looking to Rebuild

The past financial year has been challenging for Aozora Bank, culminating in a substantial loss of around 50 billion yen. This figure stands starkly against the previous year's profit of 8.7 billion yen, prompting a meticulous reassessment and strategizing for the years ahead.

As the financial community looks on, the unfolding partnership between Daiwa Securities Group and Aozora Bank represents a transformative period for both entities, while also raising pivotal questions about the direction and stability of Japan's banking and brokerage sectors.

(The above content reflects findings reported by Bloomberg journalist Yasutaka Tamura and is endorsed by Bloomberg L.P.)

Signage for Daiwa Securities Co.

Signage for Daiwa Securities Co., a unit of Daiwa Securities Group Inc., displayed outside one of the company's branches in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, April 25, 2022. Daiwa Securities Group is scheduled to release earnings figures on April 27. (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg, Bloomberg)

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Disclaimer: This article has been generated solely based on information provided by sources and may not reflect updates or developments that have occurred after the publication date.

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