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Stocks

Japan Inc. still applying shark repellent

TOKYO -- Measures to defend against hostile takeovers remain common at listed Japanese companies and few are choosing to get rid of them, a state of affairs criticized by many foreign investors.

     Only 12 companies, including Nippon Yusen and Yokogawa Electric, have decided to scrap their defenses, according to a tally by The Nikkei of listed firms that have fiscal years ending March 31. Nomura Securities counted 498 companies with anti-takeover measures in place as of the end of last month -- a smaller number than the most recent peak of 570 in 2008, but still high.

     Worries about hostile takeovers persist at many businesses. Potential acquirers "sometimes hurt corporate value through such actions as driving up a company's stock price and forcing it to buy shares," says a representative from Shin-Etsu Chemical.

     Higher stock prices, thanks to stronger earnings, have lowered the risk of becoming a takeover target. Anti-takeover measures have been criticized as anti-competitive and meant to preserve the interests of management. Shareholder opposition may intensify further.

     Capcom, where 45% of voting rights are held by foreign investors, saw a proposal to maintain its takeover defenses voted down at a shareholders meeting Monday.

(Nikkei)

 

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