Friday, January 30, 2009

The Dumb Japanese "Smart" Money

For years we'd been taught and narrated in low awed tones about the brilliance of the Japanese in business, in negotiations, in quality, in manufacturing, in work ethic, in attention to details, in kinky sex, in kinky foods, etc. etc.. it was mythical status

Books were written and management gurus born just on their "expertise" of the Japanese way. Legend had it they looked at every possible angle of a deal in 27 different ways and discussed each aspect of each way in 3 diff meetings with 3 different interpreters to gain their fabled holistic bird's eye view (despite admittedly short physical stature).. and at the end of it would utter succintly.. "Ahso, Ok.. I buy" .. sheer genius.

Thusly, the Nipponese folk lore travelled the world and some washed ashore on Indian shores where unsuspecting locals (though they can't differentiate between a Korean, Japanese , Chinese or even Nepalese to save their life).. completely believed in the legendary genius of Shinto.

And then news broke about two turbaned Yoyos up North leaving the small army of Daiichi Sankyo management holding so many proverbial bags after intensive due diligence meetings at Ranbaxy offices, that even the interpreters had to help the CEO carry the bags out.

The news was sensational for two reasons .. one, this turbaned community, locally, are widely parodied as the Indian Polish jokes and regularly at the other side of any bag holding event..( and innately talented at such).. secondly, these two spiffy beards were as good at running Pharma companies as Paris Hilton would be at running a biotech firm.
Their father and erstwhile CEOs grew and ran the company, that fell into their clutches after firing all such, which they promptly hocked to the first bidder(after much emotional soul searching, they did admit).That the monkeys were the famed "Japanese" just got them even more emotional.

So the yellow, globe trotting, business leading, opportunity spotting, deal making chimpanzees got oversized bags this time to hold. at Rs. 700 + a share .. which we learn made the globally expanding giant Daiichi Sankyo sputter to a $3.7 billion loss on the writeoffs owing to the turban fomented losses, as the share strangely plummeted to under Rs.200 a share.

As it stands today the same clueless wonder turban, Malvinder Mohan Singh, is still at the helm ( this is the famed inscrutible Japanese strategy at work) rumor has it the CEO Takashi Shoda ( still the CEO as the board dither through their 27 rounds of due diligence to identify the cause and assign an asian scapeGoat) has blamed it all on all interpreters unable to correctly understand the final sale figure spoken through excessive facial hair, as it were.
But, a promise was a promise (japanese honor thing).

But this was weak defence at best and the Nipponese Board (known to nip buds swiftly) made a ceremonial presentation of the ceremonial Samurai Sword to Takashi "cookedGoose" Shoda hoping he will see the light and do the honorable thing (and save them the next 26 iterations of studious meeting rituals).

So what have we, Nomura, another diligent, oriental Goliath had teams of gooks in suits swarming the financial capitals looking for thoroughly vetted deals and valuations when even the Arabs ( historically the second last to the party) finally realised that daft head gear and high oil prices does not add much to IQ and they had gotten these fine financial sector deals not because only they had money , but because only they had dumb money.(note: Luddic is currently doing detailed research into Arab and other cloth-head-geared-investors' investment talents and will shortly publish same)

So the Yellow Smart Money came into play yet again at Nomura ( historically, always on cue, and historically, always the last to the party) to "invest" in Iceland, Madoff, Lehman, RealEstate.. Merrill , name it and the wannabe Jap global opportunistic investment manager is there, loaded with the hard saving Japanese housewife's cash to shovel into another "Branded" deal making. ( Only brands will do, Japan understand only brands).. and promptly declared another $3.8 billion loss after paying all sorts of primates at Lehman their bonuses for last years circus feats.( In fact if I'm not wrong the head orangutan of Indian ops so endeared himself to the nips they took him back to Tokyo on a promotion to be part of the RealLargeLosers club at HO as befits his performance here )

As Luddic Research has long identified.. when the Japs start buying anything.. go short and go double short.. these well dressed gents from the east are here for a dose of some serious Acute Financial Pain which is an (little known but quickly spreading) Oriental sexual Fetish !!

Lately, I'm beginning to think the Japs just don't get and it's not just the language.

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