TOKYO: Japan Post Holdings Co. agreed to buy Australia’s Toll Holdings Ltd. for A$6.49 billion ($5.07 billion), gaining a transport network in the faster-growing Asian region ahead of an initial public offering this year.
The offer, the biggest by a Japanese company for an Australian firm, values Toll’s shares at A$9.04 each, 49 percent more than Tuesday’s closing price. Shares in the Melbourne-based logistics company jumped by a record 47 percent to A$8.94 at 3:44 p.m. in Sydney Wednesday.
Buying Toll would give state-owned Japan Post access to a global network spanning road, air, sea and rail routes as it seeks to boost investor appeal before the IPO, which it expects will raise 1 trillion yen ($8.4 billion) to 2 trillion yen. The acquisition may herald the start of a buying spree for the Japanese firm, which said it was attracted by Toll’s expertise in dealmaking.
“Japan Post is making a big bet on this sizeable deal to reinforce their business base,” and to counter slow growth and a declining population at home, Yasuhide Yajima, chief economist at NLI Research Institute, said by phone from Tokyo. “With the huge piles of cash they have built over the past decade, it may be time for Japan Inc. to spend.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government plans to split up Japan Post Holdings and sell shares in its postal, banking and insurance divisions to help reduce the world’s highest public debt burden among major economies. The larger banking and insurance arms held about 16 percent of the country’s public debt at the end of September.