October 10, 2019 / 9:16 AM / 4 days ago

Japan's Unizo says rejected bids from local fund, Blackstone

TOKYO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Japanese hotel chain Unizo Holdings on Thursday said it had rejected buyout proposals from a “locally renowned” fund as well as U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group, adding to a list of spurned suitors.

Unizo said the fund, which it did not name, offered to buy it at between 4,500 yen and 5,000 yen a share. That compared with its closing price of 4,540 yen on Thursday.

It also identified Blackstone as the suitor it rejected in September, when it disclosed a bid from a “top global fund”. Blackstone resubmitted its bid this week but was rejected again, Unizo said.

Previously a relatively obscure hotelier, Unizo is now being seen as a prominent battleground amid Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for greater transparency and reform.

The company has frustrated investors by giving the impression that it has wooed, and then jilted, a white-knight suitor, SoftBank -backed Fortress Investment Group.

The Fortress bid followed an earlier, hostile one from travel agency H.I.S. Co.

Unizo originally welcomed the “white knight” bid from Fortress, but later back-tracked. On Wednesday, Unizo’s top shareholder, Elliot Management, ended weeks of public silence to ask Unizo’s board to address its concerns about disclosure. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by David Dolan and Deepa Babington)

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