H.I.S. abandons fight for Unizo, leaves SoftBank firm as sole bidder-Nikkei
* H.I.S. decides not to raise offer price - report
* Fortress offered 'white knight' bid to buy out Unizo
* Fortress could be pressured to raise its offer -mkt
(Adds comment from source; updates share moves)
By Chris Gallagher and Junko Fujita
TOKYO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Japanese travel agency H.I.S. Co
has given up its bid for a controlling stake in Unizo
Holdings, Nikkei Business reported on Friday, after a
SoftBank-owned firm made a $1.3 billion 'white knight' offer for
the hotel operator.
Without citing sources, Nikkei Business said H.I.S. was
abandoning the bid after deciding not to raise its offer price
of 3,100 yen per share to buy another 40% of Unizo.
A representative for H.I.S., which owns 4.79% of Unizo and
had planned to run its tender offer through Friday, was not
immediately available for comment.
A Unizo spokeswoman declined to comment on the Nikkei
Unizo had rejected last month's approach from H.I.S., which
was valued at $390 mln, saying it was too low and lacked
It instead backed the friendly approach from SoftBank
-owned Fortress Investment Group for the whole company a
week ago at 4,000 yen per share.
The tug-of-war over Unizo has marked a stark departure from
most acquisitions in Japan, where takeovers tend to be
pre-agreed deals waiting to be rubber-stamped. Unwelcome bids,
like that of H.I.S., are particularly rare.
H.I.S.'s exit would make Fortress the only bidder for Unizo
but market participants said Fortress could be pressured by
Unizo's minority shareholders to raise its offer price.
Unizo shares rose 0.12% to 4,280 yen in morning trade on
Friday, above the Fortress offer price. Shares of H.I.S. rose
4.67% to 2,646 yen.
U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management already holds a 9.9%
stake in Unizo, while Japan's Ichigo Asset Management has built
its stake to 6.64%, according to public filings.
UBS has calculated Unizo's net asset value - a measure of an
entity's net value - at more than 7,800 yen a share after taxes.
"The fate of Fortress's bid all depends on how Unizo shares
will perform going forward," said a person familiar with the
Elliott is known for buying stakes in companies in the midst
of acquisitions and forcing better terms for minority
Ichigo Asset said in the filing it acquired the stake to
protect minority shareholders and it might make significant
proposals to Unizo.
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Junko Fujita; Editing by
David Dolan and Muralikumar Anantharaman)
First Published: 2019-08-23 01:33:45
Updated 2019-08-23 07:16:56
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