Steel Partners Liquidates Japan Fund

Chidem Kurdas

Activist shareholders have a tough time in Japan. This is confirmed by the experience of Warren Lichtenstein and his New York-based Steel Partners, who fought for more than five years to change the governance of beer maker Sapporo.  

Steel Partners Japan Strategic Fund attempted to take a majority interest in Sapporo and change the management. The brewing company’s executives persistently defeated the various moves by the fund, while Sapporo stock lost value. It appears that after being the largest shareholder since 2004, Mr. Lichtenstein threw in the towel in late 2010 and started to sell the Sapporo stake.

Japan Strategic Fund is now being liquidated. It is selling all its holdings and is expected to complete the return of capital to investors in 12 months. While the valuation of the holdings may change, some investors believe they will take a significant loss. Steel Partners runs other funds.

This is not the first foreign activist wrestled to the ground by Japanese corporate management. It probably won’t be the last, either.

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One Response to “Steel Partners Liquidates Japan Fund”

  1. Japanese Financial Attracts Big Funds « HedgeFundSmarts Says:

    […] Nomura can be found in many portfolios, though often not as a substantial position. These days positions in Japanese stocks tend to be small, perhaps reflecting caution after many years of losses. Some withdrew from the market—for instance, activist investor Steel Partners has been liquidating its Japan fund.   […]

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