Japan's SBI Holdings makes $1 billion unsolicited bid for Shinsei Bank

By Makiko Yamazaki and Yuki Nitta

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese financial group SBI Holdings Inc on Thursday announced an offer to buy a near majority stake in Shinsei Bank Ltd in an unsolicited bid to take effective control of the lender.

SBI aims to become Japan's fourth largest banking group and already owns the country's largest online brokerage, an online bank and an asset manager. It has been taking stakes in smaller lenders to create a nationwide network.

Tokyo-based Shinsei, which is a smaller player but has strengths in consumer loans and corporate loans businesses, said in a statement that it had not been alerted to SBI's plan and the tender offer was announced without its board approval.

The lender will provide guidance to shareholders after examining the bid, it said.

SBI, which already owns about 20% of Shinsei, plans to increase its stake to up to 48% and keep the lender listed after the tender offer, it said in a filing.

SBI is offering 2,000 yen per Shinsei share, a 39% premium over Thursday's closing, for a total of 116.4 billion yen ($1.06 billion).

SBI, the financial unit of SoftBank Group until the tech firm exited in 2006, took a stake in Shinsei after private equity investor JC Flowers & Co sold down its holding in 2019.

JC Flowers, together with buyout fund Ripplewood, bought Shinsei's predecessor bank after it went bankrupt in Japan's banking crisis in the late 1990s.

Shinsei has around $98 billion in assets, making it smaller than some 20 other banks in Japan, Refinitiv data showed.

SBI's strategy, analysts say, is to use capital tie-ups with smaller banks - usually in regions outside of Tokyo - to expand its customer base for investment products.

SBI said in the filing it decided on the tender offer as Shinsei had not responded positively to SBI's proposals for an alliance in areas where the two could create synergies.

($1 = 109.9600 yen)

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Yuki Nitta; editing by Jan Harvey and Jason Neely)

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