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Business deals

Travel agency H.I.S. launches takeover to bolster hotel business

Grinding price war pushes Japanese company to find revenue source

Humanoid and dinosaur robots man the front desk at a Henn na Hotel near Tokyo's Haneda Airport. H.I.S. runs several of these robot-staffed hotels across Japan. (Photo by Riho Nagao)

TOKYO -- Leading Japanese travel agency H.I.S. is launching a tender offer for real estate developer Unizo Holdings, hoping to expand hotel operations as price competition dims the prospects for its mainstay business.

H.I.S., known for its robot-staffed Henn na Hotels, on Wednesday announced plans to purchase up to 40% of Unizo's shares by spending as much as 42.7 billion yen ($394 million).

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