• Kyodo News


U.S. investment fund Steel Partners said Friday it has raised the offering price in its takeover bid for Bull-Dog Sauce Co. to 1,700 yen per share from 1,584 yen.

Steel Partners, which is aiming to acquire all of Bull-Dog’s shares, said in a public notice that it has also extended the last day of the tender offer to Aug. 10 from June 28.

Bull-Dog has said the tender offer launched abruptly May 18 by its top shareholder is unwanted and will ask its shareholders to let it adopt a takeover defense plan at its general shareholders’ meeting June 24.

The fund and Bull-Dog are now vying for shareholders’ votes.

Bull-Dog, the country’s leading maker of Worcestershire sauce, said it will comment on the fund’s latest move as soon as it finishes studying the new conditions.

Earlier this week, Warren Lichtenstein, head of the New York-based fund, and Bull-Dog President Shoko Ikeda met in Tokyo for the first time after the launch of the tender offer, but they failed to narrow their differences over the buyout attempt.

Steel Partners also has filed a request with the Tokyo District Court in an attempt to prevent Bull-Dog from implementing the defense system.

The sauce maker wants to issue exercisable equity warrants to all shareholders except Steel Partners, which held a 10.52 percent stake before the launch of the tender offer.

Bull-Dog will propose the plan in the form of a special resolution at the shareholders’ meeting, which will require at least two-thirds of the votes to be adopted.

In its petition to the court, Steel Partners called the defense plan illegal and one that discriminates against shareholders.

The fund says Bull-Dog is only seeking to introduce the scheme to dilute its shareholdings and stop its tender offer.

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