(Bloomberg) -- Shares in Shinsei Bank Ltd. jumped after Japan’s largest online brokerage SBI Holdings Inc. took a key step towards raising its stake further.

A unit of SBI, which holds 48.6%, filed to obtain an approval from Japan’s financial regulator to operate as a bank holding company, according to a spokesperson for the firm. If granted, it would allow SBI to raise its stake in Shinsei Bank to more than 50%. 

Shinsei Bank shares gained as much as 12% Friday before ending the session 7% higher. Nikkei first reported the application earlier. 

A takeover fight erupted for Shinsei about a year ago when SBI launched a rare unsolicited tender offer to increase its stake to a level that would give it effective control of the lender without having to go through additional regulatory hurdles. 

In December, SBI had said it planned to acquire a majority stake in Shinsei Bank provided the tender offer for the lender concluded successfully and it can obtain regulatory approval for a bank holding company. 

SBI’s Chief Executive Officer Yoshitaka Kitao previously said the brokerage, in conjunction with the government, has the option to delist Shinsei Bank in order to pay back funds the lender owes to taxpayers. 

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