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Cerberus denies plan to launch proxy fight at Seibu meeting

Kyodo

U.S. private equity fund Cerberus Capital Management LP said Monday that it won’t be looking for a proxy fight to secure votes for its proposals at Seibu Holdings Inc.’s next shareholders’ meeting June 25.

Louis Foster, senior managing director at Cerberus, said at a press conference in Tokyo that a proxy fight won’t help Seibu’s largest shareholder pursue its goals.

Cerberus recently made a tender offer for Seibu shares that helped raise its stake by around 3 percent to 35.48 percent, which allows it to veto major board proposals. But it will not execute its veto power at the upcoming meeting because voting rights will be allocated based on holdings held as of March 31.

It is, however, proposing that Seibu select eight executives recommended by the U.S. investment company, including former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, to improve corporate governance.

Yoshiteru Suzuki, president of Cerberus Japan K.K., said the equity fund “will be engaged in Seibu for the long term and we will continue to be a shareholder.”

Cerberus helped Seibu, the holding company of Seibu Railway Co., rebuild after Seibu Railway was delisted by the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2004 for falsifying financial statements.

The two companies, however, have been at odds over a plan to relist, disagreeing over the offering price and timing.

Seibu has been hostile to a series of moves by Cerberus and accused the U.S. fund of trying to take effective control of the Japanese firm.