Chinese Bid For Starwood Hotels & Resorts Rekindles Memories Of Japan’s 1980s Merger Mania

by Antoine Gara

Nearly three decades ago, Japanese corporations flooded the United States with a boom of takeover deals, much of it focused on prime U.S. real estate. They snapped up properties like Rockefeller Center and The Plaza Hotel, in addition to Columbia Pictures, causing consternation among those in the U.S. who wondered when, or if, the buying boom would ever end.

“If you don’t want Japan to buy it.. don’t sell it,” Akio Morita, founder of Sony , famously said when bidding for Columbia.

[…] The buying stopped when a 1980s stock market bubble in Japan popped, depleting the dealmaking currency and animal spirits of overseas acquirers. Within years, targets like Rock Center and The Plaza were in the hands of new ownership and a quarter century later, Japanese corporations are still trying to dig out from under the bubble.

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