Japan’s Mizuho aims to remain a top 10 global investment bank

By Thomson Reuters Feb 20, 2024 | 7:31 PM

By Makiko Yamazaki and Ritsuko Shimizu

TOKYO (Reuters) – Mizuho Financial Group aims to stay in the top 10 of the global investment bank league table, its investment banking chief told Reuters, after it became the first Japanese bank to enter the table’s upper echelons in more than a decade.

Mizuho ranked 10th in LSEG’s investment banking league table last year, benefiting from a lead underwriting role in chip designer Arm’s initial public offering and the purchase of U.S. mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) advisory Greenhill.

The last time a Japanese bank appeared in the top 10 was in 2010, when Nomura Holdings placed ninth in a table where top spots are dominated by “bulge bracket” global banks such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.

“We believe we can keep our position in the top 10,” Naoki Takahashi, head of Mizuho’s global investment banking division, said in an interview. “We want to challenge the dominance of bulge-bracket banks.”

Mizuho’s investment banking fees, which include fees paid for debt and equity underwriting, M&A advisory and syndicated loans, totalled $1.97 billion last year, up 16% from the previous year.

The acquisition of Greenhill, with its nearly 400 bankers, will help Mizuho expand in U.S. and European M&A markets, the biggest portion of the global investment banking fee pool, Takahashi said, adding that the bank sees room for growth in those markets.

Mizuho’s M&A advisory business strategy contrasts with those of domestic rivals Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, which partner Morgan Stanley and Jefferies Financial Group respectively through minority investment.

Takahashi said an enhanced M&A advisory platform as a result of the Greenhill acquisition will sharply broaden Mizuho’s capabilities for Japanese companies seeking deals abroad and give the bank advantages over rivals.

Japan has seen a surge in outbound M&As recently, including Renesas Electronics’ $5.9 billion acquisition of electronics design firm Altium and Nippon Steel’s $14.9 billion deal for U.S. Steel.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Ritsuko Shimizu; Editing by Christopher Cushing)