US hedge fund Steel Partners is refusing to back down in its bid to buy Japan’s Bull-Dog Sauce Co.
The private equity group said today (10 July) that it would take its case to Japan’s Supreme Court, the country’s highest chamber, after having its latest appeal over the sauce manufacturer thrown out.
Yesterday, the Tokyo High Court dismissed Steel Partners’ appeal to block Bull-Dog Sauce from putting anti-takeover measures into place.
Bull-Dog Sauce wants to issue more shares in the company to dilute Steel Partners’ stake in the business and stave off a bid from the hedge fund. Bull-Dog Sauce believes Steel Partners’ US$260m takeover bid is not in the “common interest” of the company’s shareholders.
At present, Steel Partners holds a 10.52% stake in the Japanese firm. The hedge fund insisted that Bull-Dog’s plan to issue more shares is a “discriminatory act” that violated Japanese corporate law.
“We feel we have no choice but to appeal to the Supreme Court of Japan as Bull-Dog Sauce’s actions breach the principles of shareholder equality,” said Warren Lichtenstein, manager of Steel Partners Japan Strategic Fund.
“We also categorically dispute the High Court’s characterisation of SPJSF as an ‘abusive bidder’. Our track record as an investor since 2002 clearly shows that SPJSF is a long-term shareholder whose interests are aligned with those of the company.”