Seibu opposes Cerberus's attempt to boost its stake
TOKYO, March 26
TOKYO, March 26 (Reuters) - Japanese railway and real estate group Seibu Holdings said it opposes Cerberus Capital Management LP's attempt to increase its stake in the company, setting up a battle with its largest shareholder.
Seibu on Tuesday asked its shareholders not to sell their shares to Cerberus.
Cerberus is trying to boost its stake in Seibu by four percentage points to 36.44 percent, the level at which it could veto major board decisions, through a tender offer.
The moves comes as Seibu, which also operates hotels and department stores, is planning to go public again in a multi-billion dollar stock market listing originally planned for 2012.
Cerberus' attempt to increase its stake hinders Seibu's plans to go public at the earliest possible stage, Seibu President Takashi Goto told a media briefing.
"I am afraid because of this tender offer our planned initial public offering may be delayed," Goto said.
The U.S. investment fund led a bailout of Seibu in 2005 after Seibu Railway, a predecessor to the current company, was delisted in 2004 as a result of making a false entry in its securities report.
The relationship between and Cerberus worsened late last year over the discussion on how to proceed with the initial public offering, Goto said, without elaborating.
Cerberus has made some requests that are against Seibu's management strategy, such as elimination of certain railways and possible sale of a professional baseball team the Seibu Lions.
Goto said Seibu will continue to ask Cerberus to help Seibu realise the initial public offering. Cerberus' tender offer will continue until April 23.