Recruit Owners to Sell $2.5 Billion of Shares in Governance Push

  • Company to offer 61.1 million shares in Japan and overseas
  • Dentsu, NTT Data, Dai Nippon Printing are among sellers

A group of Recruit Holdings Co. shareholders will sell about 253 billion yen ($2.5 billion) worth of the employment firm’s stock, adding to the number of Japanese companies disposing of holdings in unrelated companies.

Advertiser Dentsu Inc. and telecommunications company NTT Data Corp. are among owners that will sell 61.1 million shares, Recruit Holdings said in a statement Wednesday. Other sellers include Dai Nippon Printing Co., Mitsui & Co. and Mizuho Bank Ltd., with the sale to be priced as early as Sept. 12.

A year after Japan introduced a governance code requiring listed companies to disclose the economic rationale for owning stakes in other firms, more Japanese are starting to unload stakes in companies in unrelated businesses. For example, the country’s biggest banks sold $2.6 billion of shares in their client companies during the year ended March.

Japanese companies commonly own stakes in each other through cross shareholdings, a practice that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been seeking to discourage as part of his push to improve corporate governance across Japan Inc.

Some of the companies selling are ones that Recruit has stakes in. Recruit also agreed to buy back as many as 8.5 million of its own shares.

Recruit shares rose 0.1 percent to 4,135 yen by the close of trading in Tokyo on Wednesday before the announcement. The stock has climbed 33 percent since the October 2014 initial public offering, ahead of the 6.8 percent rise in the benchmark Topix Index.

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