JAPAN: Steel Partners sweetens Sapporo offer but backs down from takeover plans
Steel Partners has backed down from pushing for a majority stake in the Japanese brewer Sapporo Holdings but sweetened its offer in order to capture a one-third stake in the business instead.
The US private equity group has been embroiled in a takeover attempt with Japan's third largest brewer for around a year. In February, Sapporo's board turned down a bid from Steel Partners saying the move would be "highly likely to damage the interests of our shareholders".
Protracted discussions between Sapporo and Steel began when the US company looked to up its stake in Sapporo from 17% to 66.6%.
However, Steel has now ended its push for a majority stake and said it is willing to increase its offer per share by 6%. The fund is now willing to offer Y875 per share, up from an original price of Y825 per share.
In a statement Steel Partners added: "(We are) prepared to upwardly adjust the new offer price if the board provides documentation that reflects additional value." It added that it wanted talks with the brewer's board.
Sapporo has said in a statement that it will carefully examine and consider the proposal, without giving details.
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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