Mitsui Fudosan Co. is poised to make a bid for Tokyo Dome Corp., helping the operator of one of Japan’s largest stadiums push back against activist investor Oasis Management Co.
The Japanese real estate company is preparing to make a tender offer of about ¥100 billion ($960 million) for Tokyo Dome, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified before an announcement. Yomiuri Shimbun, the owner of the Tokyo Giants baseball team, is planning to join the bid, one of the people said.
The boards of Mitsui Fudosan and Tokyo Dome were to discuss a tender offer at respective meetings on Friday, the companies said in separate statements. They said they weren’t the source of media reports. A spokesman for Yomiuri Shimbun was not immediately able to comment.
Tokyo Dome has been fending off a campaign by Seth Fischer’s Oasis Management to seek changes to improve its business. As the stadium operator’s largest investor, the fund has called for a shareholders meeting to vote on whether its president and two board directors should stay in their jobs. Shareholders are scheduled to meet on Dec. 17.
The plan is for Mitsui Fudosan to make the tender and sell a portion of the shares it obtains to Yomiuri, the person said. Yomiuri, the publisher of Japan’s biggest newspaper, wants to streamline its baseball business by owning both the Giants team and the stadium in which it is based, the person added.
Shares of Mitsui Fudosan rose 2% in Tokyo on Friday morning. Tokyo Dome was untraded and bid at its daily upper limit of ¥1,047 per share on a glut of buy orders.
A takeover would be "somewhat positive” for Mitsui Fudosan, Masashi Miki, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., wrote in a note. "The deal would allow it to acquire prime city center real estate and would also lead to ROE (return on equity) improvements, given the scale of the acquisition.”
Shares of Tokyo Dome have dropped 17% this year, giving it a market value of about ¥86 billion. Its prospects have dimmed since the coronavirus pandemic forced the operator to curtail activities and attendances at the site.
Hong Kong-based Oasis has a 9.6% stake in Tokyo Dome, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That means any tender offer could gain the requisite approval of two thirds of shareholders without the fund’s consent.
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