Japanese banks, which just years ago needed US investors to save them from bankruptcy, are using the current crisis to scoop up low-priced international firms. The timing is perfect for the Asian banks, desperate to bolster profits limited by a saturated domestic sector, the Financial Times reports. Though expansion may be challenging, institutional memory of banking crises will inform their moves.
Buying the shrinking and unstable banks is a bit risky, but even muted profits look attractive to the eager investors. Mitsubishi Financial Group gave Morgan Stanley $9 billion for a 21% share and Nomura nabbed the Asian and European operations of Lehman Brothers for a mere $227 million. “It would have taken about 10 years for us to build these platforms,” a Nomura executive says.