Thursday, April 26, 2007

Citigroup's Japanese Poker Game

Citigroup (NYSE:C) probably will win the majority of shares of Nikko Cordial. Officially nothing will be said until Friday. Japanese companies are willing sellers. Japanese index funds will not tender until the stock is delisted. Several fund companies are holding out for more wanting to maximize their shareholder value.

Citigroup will attempt to maximize their own shareholder values. The latest card to be played as reported by Bloomberg is that Orbis Investment Management Ltd., Nikko's second-largest investor, and Harris Associates LP have offered their shares for sale at 1,900 yen, indicating they won't accept Citigroup's bid.

As of 9:30 a.m. today, such sell orders had been entered for 277 million Nikko shares on the Tokyo exchange, or 28.3 percent of the total. Real world share prices have dropped below the offer price.

Funds may want to play hard ball with Citigroup but they also have a fiduciary obligation to their own investors. The headlines of today will not play out into favourable valuations in tomorrows account statement. Third party temper tantrums aside Citigroup has time on their side. The Japanese psyche may appreciate the more slow and methodical approach in the end.

You can post whatever ask you want but when there is only one bid you have no more cards worth playing. Non accepting funds risk the problem of making public mistakes and losing face with their own investors.