* Steelmaker raised stake in rival to near 12 pct
* Buying spree came as Techint closed in on deal
SAO PAULO, April 11 Brazil's antitrust regulator
prohibited steelmaker CSN from increasing its stake
in rival Usiminas, heading off a stock-buying spree triggered by
Italian-Argentine Techint's takeover.
The regulator Cade also suspended shareholder rights
associated with CSN's stake, such as naming board members.
CSN raised its holding of Usiminas' common shares
to 11.66 percent and its holding of preferred shares
to 20.14 percent in November, when Usiminas' controlling group
was in talks with Luxembourg-based steelmaker Ternium to
sell a minority stake in the company.
Ternium's parent company Techint closed a deal for 27.7
percent of Usiminas that month and tapped a new chief executive
to lead a turnaround at Brazil's largest maker of flat steel
But CSN continued raising its stake in Usiminas common
shares to 11.97 percent by the end of the year and executives
said last month that the company would take "all measures
possible" to protect the value of its Usiminas stake.