Unizo Looks to Softbank-Linked Fund to Counter H.I.S. Offer

Economy

Tokyo, Aug. 16 (Jiji Press)--Japanese realtor and hotel operator Unizo Holdings Co. <3258> said Friday it will accept a tender offer from an investment fund linked to technology giant Softbank Group Corp. <9984>, in a move to counter a hostile bid from travel agency H.I.S. Co. <9603>.

In the offer, to be launched on Monday, New York-based Fortress Investment Group LLC plans to buy Unizo shares for 4,000 yen apiece, higher than the 3,100 yen proposed by H.I.S. in its tender offer for the target firm, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section.

The fund aims to acquire all Unizo shares, spending up to some 140 billion yen. Its tender offer will run through Oct. 1. Unizo intends to go private to secure management freedom.

H.I.S., which aims to strengthen its hotel business, launched its tender offer for Unizo on July 11, aiming to obtain a stake of up to 45 pct in the company. The bid will last until Aug. 23.

On Aug. 6, Unizo expressed its opposition to the move, claiming that effects from the partnership with H.I.S. would not be big.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press