• Kyodo News


Hoya Corp. plans to request a second top-level meeting with Pentax Corp. to ask for the camera maker’s support for its buyout proposal — after a previous meeting held earlier this month failed to bridge their gap.

Because the April 18 meeting failed to narrow their differences over a basic contract for a merger signed in December — but later scrapped — Hoya wants to have direct talks with Pentax focusing on key issues after exchanging opinions in writing first, according to a senior official at the major optical glass maker.

Meanwhile Wednesday, Sparx Group Corp., the top shareholder of Pentax, asked the camera maker for a reshuffle of its board to back a buyout bid by Hoya, apparently seeking the comeback of former President Fumio Urano, who was earlier sacked for having pushed the Hoya-Pentax merger.

Asked about the move, the Hoya official said, Sparx “is a major shareholder, so it has a major influence. It will ask the opinion of all shareholders regarding the merger, and I think it is a fair method.”

Sparx, an asset management firm that held a 23.98 percent stake in Pentax as of March 20, told the camera maker that it will propose that Pentax reappoint Urano and former Senior Managing Director Katsuo Morio to the board at a general shareholders’ meeting scheduled for June 22.

Pentax earlier this month scrapped the merger plan between the company and Hoya under its new president, Takashi Watanuki, after the promerger Urano and Morio resigned from their respective posts over a rift on the issue with other directors on the board.

Hoya is now trying to acquire Pentax through a public tender offer, if Pentax supports the idea.

Sparx’s proposal effectively called for the resignation of Watanuki and other directors who are reluctant to accept Hoya’s takeover bid for Pentax.

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