Acquisitions by Japanese corporations are on the rise, a dramatic departure from their traditional aversion to such activity. Are the Japanese about to engage in a wave of aggressive corporate takeovers, or are they more likely to act merely as "white samurai" in battles initiated by others? Will their growing familiarity with the mergers and acquisitions business lead to more takeovers inside Japan itself and give Western companies a realistic shot at acquiring a Japanese corporation? By exploring the economic logic underlying business relationships, "Japanese Takeovers" provides an interpretation of Japanese behaviour in the global market. Carl Kester argues there has not been an active market for corporate control in Japan because Japanese companies prefer to build and manage long-term relationships with other firms rather than own those firms's corporate assets. This is true even overseas. Japanese cross-border takeovers have been triggered more by the need to defend valuable business relationships than by their tremendous bidding power.
Current trends will further integrate Japan into the global market for corporate control and increase Japanese use of Anglo-American takeover tactics. But successful dealmaking with Japanese corporations will hinge more on extensive knowledge of the history and current status of relationships among various stakeholders than on financial acumen. It is imperative that foreigners wishing to be significant players in the Japanese market understand the economic purpose behind the subtle but powerful ties among Japanese corporate stakeholders.