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U.S. Group To Buy Japanese Bank

February 9, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ A U.S.-led investment group signed a contract on Wednesday to buy the nationalized Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, a bank spokeswoman said.

The consortium, led by New York-based Ripplewood Holdings, signed the deal with Japan’s Financial Reconstruction Commission and the government-backed Deposit Insurance Corp., bank spokeswoman Yumiko Konishi said Wednesday.

The group will inject $1.1 billion into LTCB through the purchase of new stock, on top of a $9.2 million payment for the bank’s outstanding shares.

The deal was announced in September and the government approved it late last year.

One of the lenders credited with helping finance Japan’s economic boom of the 1980s, LTCB was nationalized in October 1998 after regulators determined it couldn’t dig itself out from a mountain of bad loans. It lent aggressively to real estate developers before property prices in Japan collapsed in the early 1990s.

The new company to be called New LTCB Partners will be formally established next month at a shareholders’ meeting.

Ripplewood has specialized in buying struggling small-to-midsize companies and making them profitable. Other investors include GE Capital, a unit of General Electric Co.; Travelers Insurance, part of Citigroup Inc.; Deutsche Bank AG of Germany; Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia; and ABN Amro Holding NV of the Netherlands.

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