Japan M&A Forum 2020


  • 08:00

    Registration and refreshments

  • 08:50

    Opening remarks

  • 09:00

    Keynote address

  • 09:30

    The rise and rise of cross-border M&A in Japan

    In 2019, the Japanese M&A market bucked global trends as deal value surged to a seven-year high of USD75.4 billion. Increased levels of outbound buying are set to continue in 2020 as Japanese corporates continue to look abroad for growth. Domestic inbound M&A has also been on the rise due to a corporate governance overhaul, with investments rising to USD12.4 billion from USD6.6 billion in 2018. Our panel of leading M&A experts will discuss the current trends and deal flow activity of cross-border transactions into and out of Japan, and analyse where the best opportunities for investment lie in the year ahead.

    • What are the drivers behind the thriving cross-border M&A market in Japan?
    • Will changes to the Japanese foreign investment law affect inbound investor sentiment into Japan?
    • Where and what are the opportunities for Japanese corporates looking outside the region?
    • What are the future themes and trends in Japanese M&A in the next 12 months?
  • 10:30

    Networking coffee break

  • 11:00

    Japanese offshore into the US – a continuing trend

    The US continues to be the biggest geographic target for many Japanese corporates looking offshore for deals, with Japanese investment into the US being valued at USD42.9 billion across 83 deals in 2019. As the biggest dealmaking force in Asia last year, due to reduced competition in the face of US–China tensions, the opportunities are ripe for the picking. Our panellists will discuss the offshore investment environment and whether this deal-making trend is set to continue into 2021.

    • Why does the US remain the most sought-after destination for Japanese companies looking offshore for deals?
    • How might recent amendments to the whitelist of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States affect Japanese corporates’ investment plans?
    • Which sectors have seen robust deal activity, such as industrial, consumer, and technology, and where are the next pockets of opportunity?
    • What is the outlook for Japanese investment into the US next year?
  • 11:45

    Corporate governance and shareholder activism in Japan – a growing wave

    Corporate governance reforms have been driving domestic M&A activity in Japan for the past few years, as activist shareholders increasingly put pressure on corporations to spend money more efficiently. More recently, Japan has also seen a rise in the number of hostile takeovers, with traditional companies pursuing unsolicited bids to maximise corporate value. As activists continue to be more emboldened, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Japanese companies can no longer ignore these voices for change. Our panel of advisors will discuss how to best manage shareholder demands and expectations in the region.

    • Which sectors have seen the most shareholder activity, and is this set to continue?
    • What demands do Japanese shareholder activists focus on, such as balance sheet and board related activism?
    • What are some examples of successful hostile takeovers in Japan, such as Itochu–Descente, and what can corporates learn from this?
    • How have Japanese companies adapted to this new environment, and has there been any backlash from investors?
  • 12:30

    Networking lunch

  • 13:30

    Post-merger integration – a playbook for Japanese corporates

    Effective post-merger integration (PMI) is crucial to the success of transaction. For many Japanese acquirers that have closed acquisitions in outbound M&A transactions, PMI can be challenging from both an operational and cultural standpoint. This in-depth presentation will cover the necessary steps needed to navigate the PMI process and fully realise synergies, as well as a case study of a corporate that has successfully achieved PMI.

  • 14:00

    The Japanese push into Southeast Asia and India

    As Japanese corporates continue to look outbound for opportunities, Southeast Asia has become an increasingly attractive investment destination for dealmakers. Japan comprises nearly 20% of the region’s inbound investments, with Japanese corporates investing in a diverse set of sectors, ranging from financial services to technology. In India alone, Japan is the third-largest investor in the country. However, investing in this region comes with its own set of unique regulatory, geopolitical, and cultural challenges. Our panel of leading advisors share their views on how best to capture opportunities in the region.

    • What are the key investment trends in the past year, and what is the outlook for 2021?
    • Which sectors and geographies are the most attractive to Japanese investors?
    • What are some of the challenges Japanese investors should expect to face in Southeast Asia and India, including regulatory hurdles, corporate governance, and due diligence issues?
    • What can corporates looking to invest in the region learn from some of 2019’s top deals?
  • 14:45

    Technology M&A: Transforming companies from the traditional to the new

    Technology M&A is on the rise in Japan. As Japanese corporates feel the pressure from their shareholders to streamline their businesses and fuel growth, there is an increasing trend of selling non-core businesses and acquiring new technologies. Corporate venture capital investment into startups have surged in the past few years, and with the advent of full-scale 5G services and the growth of sub-sectors such as fintech, this trend is only set to accelerate. Our panel of corporate executives discuss dealmaking in this sector, and how companies can future-proof their positions by pursuing technology M&A.

    • What are the strategies of top Japanese corporates looking to invest in technology innovations, such as Toshiba and Hitachi?
    • What are the top sub-sectors that Japanese investors are looking into, including fintech and the Internet of things?
    • For corporates looking to invest in this sector, what are some of the challenges of working with startups and investing in foreign technology companies?
    • How is corporate venture capital activity shaping up in Japan?
  • 15:30

    Networking coffee break

  • 16:00

    Private equity: Moving into the mainstream

    The outlook for the Japanese private equity market remains prosperous. In 2019, buyout activity surged 5.4 times in value compared to 2018, and exit activity more than doubled. Investor appetite for large-cap Japanese deals and corporate carveouts continues to grow in the region, with global private equity firms actively looking for opportunities in Japan. That said, as the market heats up and valuations increase, there is increased competition among private firms and strategic investors in an increasingly saturated investor landscape. Our panel of private equity experts will discuss how best to capture opportunities in this environment.

    • What have been the largest deals in the past 12 months, and what is the outlook for the year ahead?
    • What is the Japanese market looking like for global buyout funds, and how has competition for assets intensified?
    • What are some challenges faced by global players compared to local firms, such as building domestic relationships and cultural understanding
    • What are the different strategies deployed by private equity firms as opposed to strategic investors in Japan?
  • 17:00

    Close of conference and cocktail reception