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Fortress raises offer for Japan's Unizo by 2.5%, extends bid period

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By Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) – Fortress Investment Group raised its bid on Friday for Japanese hotel operator Unizo Holdings <3258.T> by 2.5% but the offer remains well below both the current share price and an offer from a rival suitor.

SoftBank Group-owned <9984.T> Fortress bumped up its bid for Unizo to 4,100 yen per share from 4,000 yen, or $1.3 billion, and extended its tender offer period until Nov. 29, a regulatory filing with the Japanese finance ministry showed.

That compares with a 5,000 yen-per-share offer by Blackstone Group <BX.N> and the latest share price of around 4,990 yen in Tokyo trade on Friday.

But Fortress said the recent jump in Unizo’s share price was temporary and did not reflect its objective value, the filing showed.

U.S.-based Fortress had emerged in August as a white knight for the hotelier with a 137 billion yen ($1.3 billion) bid when Unizo was the target of travel agency H.I.S. Co <9603.T>.

Unizo later withdrew its support for Fortress.

It also rejected in October a $1.6 billion offer from Blackstone. The U.S. private equity firm then doubled down by saying it would launch a tender offer.

But Blackstone said last week that Unizo had missed a deadline to agree with conditions set for its proposed takeover bid and that the buyout group was prepared to embark on more talks. Blackstone said it would make an announcement on Monday.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Kim Coghill and Muralikumar Anantharaman)