Cerberus announces plans to sell stake in Aozora Bank


Global special situations investor Cerberus Capital Management plans to sell part of its stake in Aozora Bank if the Japanese lender’s attempted recapitalisation goes through.

Cerberus said it plans to sell some of its 821 million shares as part of a share buyback scheme announced by Aozora yesterday, although the size of the stake it plans to sell was not disclosed.

Shares in Aozora dropped more than nine per cent following the announcement, marking the Japanese bank’s biggest single-day fall in the last 12 months.

Aozora also announced CEO Brian Prince is to be replaced with current chairman Shinsuke Baba following a board meeting today.

Cerberus, which first invested in Aozora in 2000, has been attempting to sell its stake following a string of disasters for the bank in recent years.

Aozora lost 80 per cent of its value after Cerberus took it public in 2006, and a further $930m in losses from investments in hedge funds and other toxic assets following the Lehman Brothers fallout.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group ended discussions to buy Cerberus’ 55 per cent stake in the bank in September last year after the two parties failed to agree on a price.

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