Timothy Collins, founder and chief executive officer of Ripplewood Holdings LLC, has expressed concern over Japan’s moves to tighten regulations on merger and acquisition deals due to a takeover war between Livedoor Co. and the Fujisankei Communications Group.
“It is the Japanese government’s prerogative,” Collins said in a telephone interview Wednesday, but added, “The more openness and the more global standards the sooner, the more likely the Japanese economy will attract foreign capital and get some benefit from that.”
The government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are considering a wide range of measures to restrict hostile takeover bids, including postponing the implementation of so-called triangular M&As using equities to 2007 from the initially planned 2006.
Livedoor acquired a majority stake in Nippon Broadcasting System Inc., the top shareholder of Fuji Television Network Inc., which is in turn the core member of the Fujisankei group. It began its takeover bid in February with a surprise acquisition of a 35 percent stake in NBS.
Ripplewood, a New York-based private equity firm, has made investments in troubled Japanese firms, including the former Long-Term Credit Bank, now called Shinsei Bank, music company Nippon Columbia Co., Niles Parts Co., affiliated with Nissan Motor Co., and the Phoenix Seagaia Resort in Miyazaki Prefecture, according to Collins.
Collins said he is feeling “very satisfied” about the investments in Japan, and the company is looking at opportunities from a long-term viewpoint.
Ripplewood has about $2 billion invested in Japan in terms of equity, he said.
Collins denied reports that Ripplewood plans to shift its investment emphasis to China from Japan, but said it wants to increase its presence in Europe, noting its recent acquisition of a German-Belgian company.
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