Elliott and Blackstone Enter Hostile Territory in Japan
A small $1.5 billion company is attracting the biggest movers in finance in what’s shaping up as the first high-profile foreign hostile takeover in Japan. If successful, it could wake up the sleepy $228 billion market of publicly listed real-estate companies.
The attention is on Unizo Holdings Co., until recently an obscure developer and hotel operator. The company has a big chunk of its office rental business, which accounts for about 90% of operating income, in Tokyo, where the vacancy rate is as low as 2% and a decent 3.5% yield can be earned.
The developer’s stock came alive in July following an unsolicited tender offer from Japan’s leading travel agency, HIS Co. Unizo looked for white knights to come to its rescue. Two appeared: Fortress Investment Group, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. that has invested about $100 billion in real-estate deals worldwide; and private-equity giant Blackstone Group Inc., which came in with a 25% premium to the Fortress bid.