Canada fund grabs stake in Japan's Nikko-filing
TOKYO Jan 13 (Reuters) - Canadian investment group Mackenzie Financial Corp. has taken a 5.74 percent stake in Japanese brokerage Nikko Cordial Corp. 8603.T, which is reeling from an accounting scandal, according to a filing to regulators.
Mackenzie, whose fund managers include famous value investor Peter Cundill, has acquired a little over 56 million shares in Japan's third-largest brokerage firm, according to a report submitted on Friday to Kanto Finance Bureau.
The move would appear to make Mackenzie Nikko's top shareholder, surpassing Citigroup (C.N) and a unit of Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T), both of which held stakes of about 4.9 percent as of the end of September.
Nikko has lost customers since regulators found in December that it improperly booked $156 million in profits. Its top executives resigned over the affair, which caused the brokerage to be fined 500 million yen.
Nikko's stock lost about one-fifth of its value in two days and hit a 15-month intraday low of 1,099 yen on Dec. 20. The stock has since recovered some ground, closing Friday at 1,267 yen.
According to the filing, Mackenzie Financial Corp. and Mackenzie Cundill Investment Management Ltd. took stakes of 1.57 percent and 3.74 percent, respectively. Mackenzie Cundill Investment Management (Bermuda) Ltd. has a 0.44 percent stake.
The combined stake is worth about 71 billion yen ($590 million) at the latest stock price.
In the filing, all three of investors said they had taken the stake for the purpose of "pure investment".
Sources close to Nikko told Reuters last week that Nikko may ask big shareholders such as Citigroup and Mizuho Financial to invest additional funds in it after business dropped off due to the scandal.
In the latest development, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Saturday its auditor plans to launch an investigation into all of the brokerage's special purpose companies in addition to the one at the heart of the scandal.
Officials at Nikko could not be immediately reached for comment.
Mackenzie also submitted filings showing that it had taken a 6.13 percent stake in television broadcaster TV Asahi Corp. (9409.T) while raising its stake in consumer lender Takefuji Corp. 8564.T to 6.99 percent from 5.51 percent. ($1=120.31 yen)
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