Business / Corporate

H.I.S. makes aggressive to raise stake in hotelier Unizo to 45%

JIJI, Reuters

Travel agency H.I.S. Co. said Wednesday it will buy shares in Unizo Holdings Co. to boost its stake in the hotel chain to as much as 45 percent from the current 4.79 percent.

The tender offer by H.I.S., which is eager to partner with Unizo mainly in the hotel business, could turn out to be a hostile bid because Unizo has refused to hold partnership talks with H.I.S.

H.I.S. plans to spend up to ¥42.7 billion to snap up Unizo shares for ¥3,100 apiece between July 11 and Aug. 23.

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday, Unizo’s share price jumped by the daily allowable limit of ¥400, or 20.1 percent, to hit ¥2,390 after the Nikkei business daily reported the potential deal earlier.

“We have decided to launch the tender offer, hoping to deepen our collaborative relationship (with Unizo) to strengthen hotel operations,” H.I.S. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hideo Sawada said at a news conference Wednesday. “We don’t think it’s a hostile bid,” he emphasized.

Unizo, which runs 25 economy hotels in Japan, mainly in urban areas, issued a statement claiming the tender offer was announced “unilaterally and abruptly” without any notice.

The hotel chain stopped short of taking a position on the bid but said it will announce its opinion “as promptly as possible.”