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Business deals

Grab deal signals path ahead for MUFG under new chief

$706m investment is first step into fintech in Southeast Asia

Japan's MUFG Bank will spend $706 million to purchase the largest stake in Grab by a financial institution.

TOKYO -- The price tag for a partnership with ride-hailing startup Grab Holdings was $706 million, an unprecedented sum for a Japanese lender to invest in an overseas nonfinancial company. But for MUFG Bank, its expertise in all-in-one "super apps" was worth the cost. 

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Deputy President Hironori Kamezawa, who takes over as president and group CEO this April, quickly recognized the value in a tie-up with the Singapore unicorn. The bank sank roughly 10 billion yen ($89.9 million) into Grab last October "just to gain an entry ticket" into tie-up negotiations, in the words of a senior bank official. 

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