Cerberus bids for third of Seibu

Kyodo

U.S. investment firm Cerberus Capital Management LP made a tender offer Tuesday to raise its stake in Seibu Holdings Inc. to more than a third, aiming to exert more influence on the railway and hotel operator.

The Cerberus group, Seibu’s top shareholder with a 32.4 percent of its outstanding common stock, said it will try to acquire an additional 4 percent of the company through April 23.

Cerberus is buying Seibu shares for ¥1,400, up about three-fold from what it was last trading at before the delisting in December 2004 of Seibu Railway, formerly the core firm of the Seibu group prior to Seibu Holdings’ establishment.

A successful tender offer, aimed at raising Cerberus’ stake up to 36.44 percent, will give the company power to veto major board proposals at shareholders meetings.

In addition, the U.S. firm plans to nominate three candidates to the Seibu board, it said.

Cerberus has been at odds with the holding company of Seibu Railway Co. over a plan to relist on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, fearing the offering price will be set at a level the U.S. company sees as unreasonably low if it goes public now.