Unizo shares jump after Blackstone launches tender offer

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO:  The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shares of Unizo Holdings Co Ltd (T:3258) jumped on Wednesday after U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc (N:BX) ratcheted up its pursuit of the Japanese hotel operator by launching a 5,000 yen-per-share tender offer.

Unizo stock rose as much as 5.6% to 4,965 yen in early Tokyo trade after Blackstone announced its offer the previous day, doubling down on its $1.6 billion offer after the proposal was rebuffed by the hotelier.

The Japanese firm said in a statement it had not decided how to respond to the tender offer and would consult with a special committee on how to proceed.

It said it had learned about the offer from a press release issued through PR Times but had not been contacted by Blackstone.

Unizo was little known until travel services provider H.I.S. Co Ltd (T:9603) launched a tender offer for it in July. Unizo ultimately rejected the bid but attracted the attention of other suitors who see the company as vastly undervalued.

But Unizo has played hard to get: Last week it rejected a proposal from Blackstone as well as one from an unidentified “locally renowned” fund.

Before that, Unizo withdrew support for a white-knight bid from Fortress Investment Group, an asset manager backed by SoftBank Group Corp (T:9984).

Its biggest shareholder Elliot Management last week asked Unizo’s board to address its concerns about disclosure in relation to its withdrawal of support for the Fortress bid.



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