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Mitsui Fudosan offers US$1.2b to acquire Tokyo Dome

[TOKYO] Mitsui Fudosan announced a US$1.2 billion bid for Tokyo Dome, the operator of the landmark Japanese baseball stadium that's facing pressure from activist investor Oasis Management.

The Japanese real estate company plans a tender offer of 1,300 yen (S$16.7) a share, it said in a statement on Friday. Yomiuri Shimbun, the owner of the Tokyo Giants baseball team, is seeking to purchase a 20 per cent stake after the deal is completed. Tokyo Dome said it supported the offer.

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 hedge fund has called for a shareholder meeting to vote on whether its president and two board directors should stay in their jobs. Shareholders are scheduled to meet on Dec 17.

Yomiuri, the publisher of Japan's biggest newspaper, wants to streamline its baseball business by owning both the Giants team and the ground where it's based, a person with knowledge of the matter said earlier.

The offer represents a 45 per cent premium to Tokyo Dome's closing price on Thursday. Shares of the stadium operator jumped 17 per cent to 1,047 yen on Friday after Bloomberg reported the acquisition plans. Mitsui Fudosan closed 1.9 per cent higher before the announcement.

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A takeover would be "somewhat positive" for Mitsui Fudosan, Masashi Miki, an analyst at Citigroup, wrote in a note earlier. "The deal would allow it to acquire prime city centre real estate and would also lead to ROE improvements, given the scale of the acquisition." Shares of Tokyo Dome had fallen 17 per cent this year through Thursday. Its prospects have dimmed since the coronavirus pandemic forced it to curtail activities and attendances at the stadium.

Hong Kong-based Oasis has a 9.6 per cent stake in Tokyo Dome, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That means the tender offer could gain the requisite approval of two thirds of shareholders without the fund's consent.

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