Leading select store operator and international conglomerate PAL holdings has formed a joint venture with Japan's Biscay Holdings, with a capital of JPY50m (US$0.53m).

The new company, split 60/40 between PAL and Biscay, has this week bought up three leading brands in Japan and around 40 stores mostly in the Tokyo area.

PAL has been leading the race in Japan for further mergers and acquisitions and has now added apparel brands Andy Cole, Rive Droit, and Jet Lag Drive to its small brands portfolio.

PAL said it hopes the new company will lead to further synergies with existing businesses.

Analysts say the move proves Japan's wake of recent M&As is not over yet.

Notable fashion industry M&As started early in 2002 when PAL acquired another unlikely name - the Nice Claup label.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.