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Japanese investors riled by discounted tender offers

Below-market deals used for speedy restructuring and unwinding of cross-shareholdings

Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan has offered to buy back shares at below the market price. (Photo by Tomoki Mera)

TOKYO -- The increased use of discounted tender offers in recent years has frustrated many Japanese individual shareholders, as many such deals are put together with little accountability and benefit to the small-time investors.

Trading house Mitsubishi Corp. announced Feb. 20 a tender offer to buy shares in Mitsubishi Motors at 749 yen a share, 10% below the carmaker's closing price that day, from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and other members of the group. Mitsubishi Corp. wants to straighten out tangled capital relations within the group and also bolster its auto business, a representative said, noting that the tender offer is not at all aimed at soliciting participation by shareholders outside the group. 

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