JAPAN: Sapporo rejects Steel Partners takeover move
Sapporo Holdings has turned down a takeover bid from US private equity group Steel Partners.
The Japanese company, which has been the subject of a stake increase bid from Steel for the best part of a year, said yesterday (26 February) that the move would be "highly likely to damage the interests of our shareholders".
Steel was charged by Sapporo with failing to detail its plans for the future management of the company. Steel has said, when it made the takeover offer earlier this month, that it would retain the existing management.
Protracted discussions between Sapporo and Steel began when the US company looked to up its stake in Sapporo from 17% to 66.6%. As part of this process, Sapporo asked Steel in September for further information about its stake increase intentions.
Sapporo's shareholders approved an advanced warning system (AWS) last year, designed to protect the company from a hostile takeover. The AWS allows the Japanese company to ask questions of any organisation which is trying to markedly up its holding in Sapporo, while also issuing new shares to dilute the bidder's stake, if it opposes the move.
Sapporo Breweries is to raise the annual sales target of its beer-like drink "Mugi to Hop," to 5.5 million cases from the previously planned three million cases, according to local sources....
Suntory has taken the number three spot on the Japanese domestic beer market, leapfrogging Sapporo Breweries....
Steel Partners Japan Strategic Fund has called for Sapporo Holdings to consider bringing an investment bank in "to explore strategic alternatives" for the Japanese company....
Asahi Breweries is to hike its wine prices by 3-20% as a result of increased procurement costs, according to reports....
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