(Corrects Reuters Instrument Code for SoftBank in paragraph 6)
TOKYO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Japanese travel agency H.I.S. Co is withdrawing a bid for control of Unizo Holdings , Nikkei Business reported on Friday, throwing in the towel after a SoftBank-owned firm made a ‘white knight’ offer for the entirety of the hotel operator.
Nikkei Business, without citing sources, said H.I.S. was abandoning the bid after deciding not to raise its offer price of 3,100 yen per share to buy another 40% of Unizo.
A representative for H.I.S., which owns 4.79% of Unizo and had planned to run its tender offer through Friday, was not immediately available for comment.
A Unizo spokeswoman declined to comment on the Nikkei Business report.
Unizo had rejected last month’s approach from H.I.S., which was valued at $390 mln, saying it was too low and lacked synergy.
It instead backed the friendly approach from SoftBank -owned Fortress Investment Group for the whole company, valued at $1.3 billion, a week ago.
Unizo shares were down 0.7 percent at 4,245 yen in morning trade on Friday, although that was still above the Fortress offer price. Shares of H.I.S. were up 4.2 percent at 2,635 yen.
The tug-of-war over Unizo has marked a stark departure from most acquisitions in Japan, where takeovers tend to be pre-agreed deals waiting to be rubber-stamped. Unwelcome bids, like that of H.I.S., are particularly rare.
The deal has also seen the emergence of U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation as a player. The fund holds a 9.9% stake in Unizo, according to regulatory filings.
Elliot is known for buying stakes in companies in the midst of acquisitions and forcing better terms for minority shareholders. (Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Junko Fujita; editing by Jane Wardell and David Dolan)
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