Friday, October 3, 2008

Mitsubishi UFJ Merges Its Securities Unit with Morgan Stanley's Brokerage Operation in Japan

Recently, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. are considering a merger of their brokerage units in Japan.

NHK reported plans for the merger but did not provide details or cite sources. Meanwhile, Kyodo News agency, quoting sources familiar with the matter, also mentioned Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan's largest bank, was considering merging its securities unit with Morgan Stanley's brokerage operation in Japan.

Nevertheless, Mitsubishi UFJ said in a statement Friday that nothing had been decided. The Japanese bank declined to comment further. Mika Watanabe, a representative of Morgan Stanley in Japan, said, "Nothing concrete has been decided."

The reported move follows a deal launched last month under which Mitsubishi UFJ will acquire a 21% stake in Morgan Stanley for $9 billion, making Mitsubishi UFJ the American investment bank's top shareholder.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp., which is a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, have mentioned that it would acquire up to a 19.9% stake in British investment company Aberdeen Asset Management PLC. for around 40 billion yen ($380 million).

Morgan Stanley, along with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., was one of the two remaining independent Wall Street investment banks until the two recently applied to become commercial banks that take deposits. In addition, Wall Street is in a state of confusion after soured investments in mortgage-backed securities led the U.S. government to propose a $700 billion bailout for the nation's banks.

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