TOKYO Mizuho Financial Group Japan's second-largest bank by assets, said on Thursday it would invest $120 million in U.S. merger advisory firm Evercore Partners marking the latest push by a Japanese financial company into the world's largest economy.
Mizuho and Evercore, a boutique company that advises on larger mergers and acquisitions, also agreed to work together on M&A deals between Japan and North America, the Japanese bank said in a statement.
Mizuho, like other large Japanese banks, is looking to expand its overseas presence to offset slackening growth in the domestic market.
The deal also comes as outbound acquisitions by Japanese companies continue to rise.
Acquisitions by Japanese companies abroad totaled $24 billion in the first half of this year, according to Thomson Reuters data, nearly matching the total for all of 2007.
Drug and food companies, as well as financial firms, have been among the biggest shoppers.
As part of their agreement, Mizuho and Evercore will also cooperate in asset management, Mizuho said.
New York-based Evercore has been looking to boost its investment management revenue, or revenue from its private equity and public securities businesses.
The boutique firm is known for its M&A advisory business.
In the first half of 2008 it ranked 13th in the M&A advisory league table for U.S. firms, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Mizuho said in a statement it had agreed to buy $120 million worth of equity warrant bonds in Evercore.
If Mizuho were to exercise the warrants on the bonds, it would be able to take as much as a 14.7 percent stake in Evercore in terms of voting rights, Mizuho said.
Mizuho Securities, the Japanese bank's brokerage arm, has had an alliance with Evercore since 2006, but the new agreement will extend the alliance to M&A advisory services, Mizuho said.
(Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Michael Watson)