Another Move By Wilbur Ross In Japan

Turnaround artist Wilbur Ross is making quite a name for himself in Japan. After doubling his money by selling off a restructured, mid-tier Osaka lender in 2001, Ross has asked Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan for a controlling 52% stake in Mitsui Mining Ltd., a troubled importer of specialized coal, Japanese media reports say. Ross is working on behalf of steelmaker International Steel Group, where he serves as chairman. ISG will merge early next year with Netherlands-based Ispat International (IST ) and LNM Holdings to become Mittal Steel. At current stock prices, the offer would cost Mittal about $291 million for a majority position in Mitsui Mining, which the Japanese government is bailing out. Ross, as well as Mitsui and Industrial Revitalization Corp. officials, declined to comment. But if the deal goes through it would mark the first such sale brokered by the IRC to a foreign bidder, and could trigger more mergers.

Edited by Rose Brady

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