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Japan's OK Corp offers 64per cent premium if Kansai Super drops H20 merger

TOKYO :Japan's OK Corp said on Friday it plans a tender offer of 2,250 yen (US$20.45) for each share of Kansai Super Market Ltd, or a premium of 64per cent over the previous day's close, if its target scraps a plan to merge with H2O Retailing Corp.

Supermarket operator OK Corp, which owns 7.69per cent of Kansai Super Market, also said in a statement that it would oppose the plan at Kansai's extraordinary shareholders meeting on Oct. 29, adding that it had first approached Kansai Super in June.

Kansai Super, meanwhile, said in its statement that there was no change to its plan with H20 Retailing, which had been carefully weighed against OK Corp's proposal.

The deal with H2O Retailing, which is the chain's top shareholder with a 10.66per cent stake, was announced at the end of August but does not sufficiently explain how minority shareholders' rights will be protected, OK Corp said.

The counterbid sets up an unusual Japanese corporate face-off as supermarket operators grapple with a shrinking and aging customer base.

Shares of Kansai Super closed at 1,374 yen on Thursday and did not trade on Friday with a glut of buy orders and after being suspended for most of the day.

A spokesperson for H2O Retailing said it had the stronger bid but it was for Kansai Super shareholders to decide how to vote.

(US$1=110.0200 yen)

(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Stephen Coates and Uttaresh.V)

Source: Reuters

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