NAGOYA (Kyodo) Department store chain Matsuzakaya Co. said Tuesday it is buying back 4.23 million of its own shares, or about 2.47 percent of the company’s outstanding stock, for some 3.1 billion yen through a tender offer that ended the previous day.
The Murakami fund, which owned a 7.05 percent stake in the retailer as of July 27, may have sold some shares to Matsuzakaya, but it may also have sold shares on the open market, financial sources said.
Matsuzakaya said in a statement it received 20 sale offers from shareholders. The names of the sellers were not disclosed.
“Although the market price of our stock was higher than our offer price, we have achieved some results through the tender offer,” a Matsuzakaya official said.
The company offered to buy back its stock for 741 yen per share, which closed at 803 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday. The stock apparently rose on market expectations of a standoff between the department store and the Murakami fund.
The controversial investment fund set up by financier Yoshiaki Murakami, who has been indicted for alleged insider trading, had an equity stake of 9.9 percent in Matsuzakaya as of June 9.
Matsuzakaya asked the fund to sell its holdings in June, but the two sides disagreed over the purchase price.
The fund has declined to comment following the end of the tender offer.
Matsuzakaya launched the buyback on July 24 in hopes of gaining up to 10 percent of the outstanding shares and reducing the fund’s stake.
Prior to the announcement of the buyback on July 21, Matsuzakaya on April 13 announced it would create a holding company on Sept. 1 in view of the emergence of takeover funds, which it said made the stock market increasingly unpredictable.
With Matsuzakaya’s offer price far lower than the roughly 840 yen per share that the fund paid for its shares, public attention has focused on how the fund will respond to the buyback offer.
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