UPDATE 1-Blackstone raises offer for Japan’s Unizo, tops Lone Star’s bid

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Blackstone Group (BX.N) has raised its proposed offer to buy Japanese hotel chain Unizo Holdings (3258.T) to 6,000 yen ($53.78) from 5,600 yen per share, the U.S. private equity firm said on Monday, topping a bid by U.S. investment fund Lone Star.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Hotel Unizo, operated by Japanese hotel operator Unizo Holdings, is seen at the entrance of the hotel in Tokyo, Japan November 18, 2019. REUTERS/Junko Fujita/File Photo

The improved offer values the company at 205 billion yen, compared with Unizo’s market value of 200 billion yen as of Friday last week.

Unizo supports an offer from Lone Star, which has bid 5,700 yen per share. Lone Star’s bid is scheduled to expire on Friday.

“Blackstone believes that the revised Blackstone offer offers the best option, not only for Unizo’s shareholders, who will be allowed to maximise the value of their shares, but also for all Unizo employees,” Blackstone said in a statement.

Blackstone said it would only launch its bid if Unizo agrees with Blackstone’s conditions by April 30.

Unizo in July became the target of a hostile bid by Japanese

travel agent H.I.S. Co (9603.T). Unizo at one stage turned to

U.S. buyout firm Fortress Investment Group to fend off that bid.

But it now opposes Fortress’s bid which stands at 5,200 yen per share.

Blackstone emerged as a potential bidder in October. While Blackstone tried to win over Unizo management following its initial approach, Unizo turned to Lone Star.

Reporting by Junko Fujita; editing by Edmund Blair and Jason Neely

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