Sat, Apr 07, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Confident Hoya to raise the stakes in offer to Pentax Corp shareholders

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Hoya Corp, Japan's largest optical-glass maker, will increase its takeover offer for camera maker Pentax Corp to help win shareholder approval.

The firm will offer about ?770 (US$6.48) a share, said Hoya spokeswoman Akiko Maeyama, confirming a report in the Nikkei newspaper. That values Pentax at ?98.5 billion. Tokyo-based Hoya in December said it would pay 0.158 of stock, or ?709.42, for each Pentax share.

The revised terms reflect an increase in shareholder activism in Japan as investors acquire larger stakes in companies. Former Morgan Stanley banker Scott Callon in February led Japan's first successful shareholder revolt after he blocked the takeover of a specialty steelmaker by a unit of Nippon Steel Corp.

Hoya expects to get approval for the offer price from its directors by Monday, Maeyama said. Hoya president Hiroshi Suzuki is seeking to expand the company's sales of medical equipment, including endoscopes and surgical scissors.

Sparx Group Co, a Japanese asset management company, and Fidelity Investments are Pentax's two biggest shareholders, controlling about 37 percent of the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Shares of Tokyo-based Pentax soared 6.9 percent, the biggest gain in more than three months, to ?733 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday. Hoya's stock gained 1 percent to ?4,100.

Hoya's shares slumped 13 percent since the company announced the original terms in December, cutting the offer's value to ?648 per Pentax share.

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