TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) - Japanese railway and real estate group Seibu Holdings said on Friday it opposed Cerberus Capital Management LP’s renewed attempt to boost its stake in the company to 44.7 percent, heating up a public battle between the two parties.
Cerberus last week said it wanted to increase its stake to 44.7 percent from 32.4 percent, a higher target than the U.S. investment fund had initially set. Cerberus has been in the process of buying Seibu shares through a public tender offer.
Seibu also opposes Cerberus’s plans to send eight members that they recommend to Seibu’s board, saying that some of the candidates are not independent from Cerberus.
If Cerberus succeeds in the tender offer, it will have not only a larger stake but 9 of 18 directors on an expanded board in which it already has one director. The new board candidates include former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, who is now chairman of Cerberus Global Investments.
Cerberus’s attempts “actually means that it is trying to control our company”, Seibu said.
The U.S. private equity firm had in March proposed lifting the stake to 36.44 percent and nominated three new directors, as it attempts to shake up Seibu’s corporate governance.
In 2005 Cerberus led a bailout of Seibu after Seibu Railway, a predecessor to the current company, was delisted as a result of making a false entry in its securities report.
Cerberus, which spent more than 100 billion yen ($1 billion) to become the largest shareholder in Seibu, is willing to spend an additional 60 billion yen to gain a larger control.