• Kyodo News


Trading house Sumitomo Corp. said it will begin a tender offer March 3 for shares of Jupiter Telecommunications Co. to become the largest shareholder in Japan’s biggest cable television operator.

Sumitomo’s move is being seen as an attempt to counter KDDI Corp.’s effort to acquire a major stake in the cable TV firm known as J:Com.

Sumitomo said Monday it will purchase up to 875,834 J:Com shares for ¥139,500 each in the tender offer through April 14.

The trading house currently holds around 27 percent of J:Com, which is traded on the Jasdaq Securities Exchange, making it the second-largest shareholder.

The offer, which will cost up to ¥122.18 billion, will boost Sumitomo’s stake to up to 40 percent in terms of voting rights.

Sumitomo, which sees the cable company as the core of its media business, will secure management control of J:Com, which posted sales of ¥333.72 billion and a group net profit of ¥30.45 billion, both record highs, in the business year that ended in December.

Sumitomo is aiming to acquire a stake in J:Com of at least 34 percent in terms of voting rights and the company will not purchase any of the tendered shares if the total number fails to meet the target, it said.

“We have actively put human resources, funds and knowhow (into J:Com). We’d like to continue taking the lead in contributing to raising the company’s value,” Sumitomo Director and Managing Executive Officer Yoshio Osawa told a news conference.

KDDI said on Friday it had revised an earlier plan for the acquisition of J:Com shares and will acquire a 31.1 percent stake in terms of voting rights.

The telecommunications firm said in late January it would acquire a 37.8 percent stake in J:Com for ¥361.7 billion from Liberty Global Inc., a leading U.S. media company, by buying three subsidiaries of the U.S. firm that hold J:Com shares.

But after the Financial Services Agency questioned the legality of KDDI’s plan, KDDI announced a revision of its plan to acquire a major stake.

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