| TOKYO, April 8
TOKYO, April 8 U.S. private equity fund Cerberus
could sell a smaller share of Japanese railway and property
group Seibu than planned after investors balked at the proposed
price tag for its stock market listing, two people with
knowledge of the deal said.
A tentative price for the Seibu share sale was set in March
at 2,300 yen per share, valuing the offering at 186 billion yen
and the entire company at 787 billion yen ($7.63 billion).
People familiar with the Seibu deal, who asked not to be
named because of the private nature of discussions, said
underwriters were considering a lower price range.
At the same time, Cerberus could sell fewer of its shares
into the offering than the 15.5 percent stake it had previously
planned to sell, the sources said. Its current stake is 35.5
Cerberus and Seibu have set aside differences after a
difficult 2013 in which they clashed over when the company
should be listed and at what price. The battle included a failed
attempt by the U.S. fund to take control of the Japanese
Their fraught relationship came to symbolise tensions
between Japanese companies and foreign investors.
Cerberus led a bailout of Seibu following a scandal
involving falsified shareholder records which led to its
delisting in 2004. The U.S. private equity company was said to
have paid an average of around 1,000 yen for each Seibu share at
that time, although the fund has never confirmed its acquisition
The Seibu initial public offering price range is due to be
announced on Wednesday after a meeting of the company's board.
Seibu on Monday delayed the price announcement by two days.
Both Cerberus and Seibu declined to comment.
Cerberus has also made it clear that it would rather sell
less of its stake in the IPO than accept a sharply lower price,
the people involved in the discussions said.
A delay or cancellation of the sale appears unlikely, as
both Seibu and Cerberus have been intent on taking the shares
public and eventually parting ways, they said.
($1 = 103.1250 Japanese Yen)
(Editing by Jane Merriman)