• Kyodo News


Pentax Corp.’s top shareholder said Wednesday it will withdraw its proposal that the camera maker reappoint as board directors two officials who favor a merger plan with Hoya Corp. now that Pentax has proposed a new management reshuffle plan.

Asset management firm Sparx Group Co., Pentax’s biggest shareholder, with a 23.98 percent stake, said it will endorse the Pentax proposal, calling the new management setup “the lineup that fully responds to the commission of the shareholders.”

Under the reshuffle plan, Pentax will promote executive officer Nobuaki Tanishima to president after optical lens and glass maker Hoya concludes its buyout bid to be launched in June, sources have said.

Tanishima, 52, will replace Takashi Watanuki, 54, who had been reluctant to accept Hoya’s tender offer.

In April, Sparx proposed that Pentax reappoint the two officials — former President Fumio Urano and Senior Managing Director Katsuo Mori — in an effective call for the resignation of Watanuki and other directors who are negative about Hoya’s buyout bid.

Sparx, which wants Pentax to enhance its corporate value, has said that a Hoya takeover bid would be a fair method as it would allow Pentax shareholders to decide on the envisioned integration of the two companies.

Sparks said in a written statement issued Wednesday it decided to take back its proposal also because Urano and Mori offered to decline being Pentax board member candidates.

Under the new management reshuffle plan, Pentax will reduce the number of its board members to six from the current eight, with Pentax and Hoya each sending two to the new board, according to the sources.

Hidenao Toyoshima, former head of the Fukuoka High Public Prosecutor’s Office, and Yuji Nishiura, head of a management consulting firm, who was proposed by Sparx, will be selected as outside directors, they said.

Pentax is scheduled to hold a board meeting Thursday to formally accept a tender offer from Hoya. Following the decision, Hoya is expected to launch a friendly offer probably on June 4.

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