The ANZ Banking Group has hired a major law firm as it eyes an acquisition in Japan, the Australian Financial Review reports in its Street Talk column.
AFR says talk suggests Australia's ANZ, which owns New Zealand's ANZ and National banks, could be eyeing either Tokyo Star Bank or Aozora Bank and has hired law firm Nagashima Ohno to assist.
Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity group that specialises in buying distressed assets, has a major stake in Aozora, which was one of Lehman Brothers' biggest creditors and had a US$137 million indirect exposure to Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, the AFR says.
Tokyo Star is backed by Lone Star Funds, the Dallas-based group from whom ANZ tried to buy a stake in Korea Exchange Bank last year. AFR says there's talk Nomura has been "tapped on the shoulder" to sell Tokyo Star. The newspaper says Joyce Phillips, ANZ'S head of strategy and the former head of Citigroup's Japanese operations, is leading the bank's push, with the strong deposits of Japan's banks a key attraction.
ANZ's CEO Mike Smith, a former HSBC executive, has led the bank on a major push into Asia over the past few years. See more on ANZ's Asian push here.