As US Firms Stumble, Japanese Banks Step Up

Failing only a few years ago, Japanese institutions rescuing US system
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2008 11:27 AM CDT
Morgan Stanley said Monday it signed a letter of intent to sell up to 20 percent of the company to Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – Japan's big banks, themselves near collapse a few years ago, are reemerging as global powerhouses, Reuters reports, just in time to snap up stakes in foundering US banks.They've largely escaped Wall Street's credit meltdown by shying away from riskier investments since their own "near death," when they were rescued by massive injections of public funds. 

Japanese banks’ overseas acquisitions have already reached $12.5 billion this year. Investment giant Nomura Holdings struck a $525 million deal for Asian arm of Lehman Bros., and is said to be close to a deal for Lehman's European assets. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is snatching up as much as 20% of Morgan Stanley for $8.5 billion, and speculation swirls that Goldman Sachs will seek refuge with Sumitomo Mistui Financial Group. Goldman owns shares in SMFG, and in the 1980s an earlier incarnation of SMFG helped bail out Goldman.