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OSAKA (Kyodo) The municipal government of Osaka said Tuesday it will sell all of its shareholdings in USJ Co., the operator of the Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka, in a tender offer being carried out by an investment fund affiliated with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The city now holds 200,000 shares in USJ, or an equity stake of 9.23 percent. In the tender offer, the investment fund is purchasing USJ shares for ¥50,000 each.

The municipal government is expected to use the proceeds, worth ¥10 billion, to cover losses incurred by semipublic business entity World Trade Center Building (Osaka) Inc. as well as fund the redevelopment of waterfront areas in the city, officials said.

The heavily indebted World Trade Center Building (Osaka) filed for court protection from creditors under the corporate rehabilitation law in March.

When USJ began operations in 2001, Osaka played a key role in the management of the company, sending in a city official to serve as president.

After the share sale, the city will collect a loan of ¥16 billion from USJ, which will fall due in 2014, and retain ties with the company only through leasing of its land.

Traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers market for startups, USJ shares finished Tuesday’s trading at ¥48,300, down ¥1,500 from Monday.

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