Blackstone keeps pressure on buyout target Unizo after company misses deadline over $1.6bn takeover offer

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Private equity giant Blackstone is reportedly keeping up pressure on Japanese hotel operator Unizo after the company missed a deadline with conditions set for its proposed $1.6bn takeover.

Blackstone said it was prepared to embark on more talks with Unizo, which became a target for investment firms following a hostile JPY3,100 per share bid from travel agent HIS in July, Reuters said.

The company rejected that offer, and later backed a JPY4,000 per share offer from SoftBank-backed Fortress Investment Group in August, which valued the company at about JPY137bn ($1.3bn).

Unizo rescinded that offer in September, calling on the firm to up the bid to JPY5,000 per share.

Blackstone offered JPY5,000 per share in the middle of last month, and has now twice extended the deadline for an answer from Unizo.

The company’s share price was sitting at just over the JPY1,900 mark in July, before the rampant buyout activity began, and the firm’s shares are currently valued at about JPY5,090 each.

Activist investor Elliot Management has been buying up shares in the company since the HIS offer, and is now the largest stock owner at 13 per cent, according to Bloomberg.

Blackstone has previously told Unizo it would launch a tender offer or explore other options if the company did not agree to the JPY5,000 per share offer, the Reuters report added.

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