OSAKA (Kyodo) Hankyu Holdings Inc. may buy all of the Hanshin Electric Railway Co. shares held by an investment fund led by financier Yoshiaki Murakami in a deal that could realign the railway industry in the Kansai region, sources said Thursday.

Hankyu Holdings owns Hankyu Corp., whose rival Hanshin also operates a railway in the Osaka-based region.

Hanshin and Hankyu Holdings issued statements denying the deal.

The Murakami Fund became Hanshin’s largest shareholder in February after acquiring a stake of 45.73 percent.

Fearing the Murakami Fund could exercise its dominant voting rights to push its management proposals through at a general meeting of Hanshin shareholders in June, Hanshin is encouraging other firms to buy shares from the fund, the sources said.

Hankyu Holdings, along with other companies and investment funds, is hoping to acquire Hanshin shares from the Murakami Fund, the sources said.

Hankyu Holdings may team up with other firms to raise about 200 billion yen to purchase Hanshin shares, they said.

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