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Hong Kong fund Oasis fails to block takeover of Japan's Alpine

[TOKYO] Hong Kong-based fund Oasis Management failed to block the sale of Alpine Electronics Inc to larger affiliate Alps Electric Co at a shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

Oasis Management's failure to garner enough support to block the deal highlights the struggle that activist investors face to get firms to embrace their proposals in Japan.

While activist investment has been gaining momentum since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe advocated strengthening corporate governance, there have been no major wins so far. Earlier this year, six proposals from Oasis to Internet and cryptocurrency firm GMO Internet were rejected.

"Our team fought very hard today but unfortunately we lost this game," said Oasis Management Chief Operating Officer Phillip Meyer, who attended the Alpine shareholder meeting.

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"But this is the first game of a longer series. We will fight hard in the next game too," he added.

Alps, which already owns 40 per cent in Alpine, has offered to buy the shares it does not already own through a share swap.

But Oasis Management, Alpine's No.2 shareholder with a 9.9 per cent stake, had called on other shareholders to reject the deal under which 0.68 shares of Alps would be swapped for each Alpine stock, arguing it was an unfairly low valuation.

The proposed swap indicates an offer price of 1,791 yen (S$21.67) per Alpine share based on Tuesday share prices, below the target firm's last close of 1,819 yen.