Japan’s biggest lender, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, isn’t letting the economic slump in its home market bring it down. The lender has been on an M&A roll the last few years, reflecting its global ambitions. Mitsubishi’s moves outside its home country partly reflect limited growth opportunities in Japan. Its latest target is Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya. Mitsubishi could buy up to a 75% stake in the company for about $5.6 billion.
But Mitsubishi’s shopping spree won’t stop there. It is also reportedly in talks to acquire Morgan Stanley’s trust business. The Japanese bank is already Morgan Stanley’s biggest shareholder, having provided $9 billion to prop up the US bank in 2008 during the financial crisis.
The Japanese bank has also drawn up a list of other US banks it hopes to acquire. Other deals in the US include acquiring Pacific Capital Bancorp last year for $1.5 billion and UnionBanCal in 2008 for $3.5 billion. Both banks are located in California.
Asia is a key market for Mitsubishi, especially in emerging markets where banking activities are rapidly growing. In addition to the Thai deal, Mitsubishi also has a Southeast Asian presence in Vietnam. In December, the Japanese bank acquired a 20% stake in Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade.
In its current form, Mitsubishi is only eight years old, established through the merger of Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group and UFJ Holdings.