April 29, 2003

Cerberus, Quayle Work to Rehabilitate Japanese Ban

NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)--A company affiliated with distressed fund manager Cerberus Capital Management LP enlisted the help of former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle in its bid to purchase Aozora Bank, a Japanese bank, according to a press report.

The company, Cerberus NCB Acquisition LLC, exercised a right of first refusal to purchase shares of Aozora from Softbank Corp., according to a statement from Cerberus. The purchase of additional shares is subject to approval from Japan's Financial Services Agency. Softbank had planned to sell the shares to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

Cerberus officials declined comment beyond what was in its statement.

Cerberus NCB views the planned investment as a long-term one that can help turnaround the bank and contribute to the revitalization of the Japanese economy, the statement said.. The Financial Times reported April 16 that Mr. Quayle was hired to help Cerberus with the public relations side of getting the purchase approved. He told the Financial Times: "We think we can take Aozora to a new level [of profitability]. We are going to make this bank operate profitably [and] we are going to make sure that we do it the Japanese way."

Allowing a non-Japanese company to purchase the bank is a touchy subject in Japan, particularly given that Aozora, under a different name, was given a government bailout several years ago.

PBarr@HedgeWorld.com

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