TOKYO: Cerberus Capital Management will try to increase its stake in Japan’s Seibu Holdings to 44.7 per cent from 32.4 per cent and proposed eight members to the board, stepping up a battle with the railway and real estate group’s management
The US private equity firm had in March proposed lifting the stake to 36.44 per cent and nominated three new directors, as it attempts to shake up Seibu’s corporate governance. The new board candidates include former US Vice President Dan Quayle, who is now chairman of Cerberus Global Investments.
If Cerberus succeeds, 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 changes are opposed by Seibu’s management, and Japan’s corporate history is littered with examples of foreign firms with minority stakes who have pulled out after failing to shake up corporate culture.
After the tender offer was launched in March, Seibu President Takashi Goto had said Cerberus’s move would hurt Seibu’s corporate value and delay plans to relist its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Cerberus also extended the deadline for the tender offer to May 17. 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 became the top shareholder of Seibu after paying more than 100 billion yen ($1.04 billion). Cerberus has clashed with Seibu management over the terms of a multi-billion dollar stock market listing originally planned for 2012, sources have told Reuters.