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Japan's JAFCO weighs takeover defence against activist

TOKYO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - JAFCO Group Co Ltd 8595.T said on Monday it may introduce a "poison pill" takeover defence after a group of shareholders backed by a prominent activist investor "hinted" they could buy a majority stake in the major Japanese venture capital firm. An investor group led by Yoshiaki Murakami told JAFCO in meetings early this month that they had amassed nearly 15% of its shares and suggested that there is a possibility of increasing their stake to 51%, the firm said in a regulatory filing. The Murakami group also requested that JAFCO buy back shares worth about 50 billion yen ($374.76 million), or a third of its market value, the filing said. A representative for the group's main fund, which is called City Index Eleventh, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters and asked about possibly raising its stake to 51%. Given the threat of a takeover, JAFCO's board on Monday decided to introduce countermeasures, including an option to issue stock warrants to existing shareholders which would dilute the stake held by the Murakami-related parties, when required conditions are met. A poison pill that targets a specific bidder - called an emergency poison pill in Japan - was first successfully employed in 2020 by Toshiba Machine, renamed Shibaura Machine, in its fight against Murakami. ($1 = 133.4200 yen) (Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; editing by Jason Neely) ((Makiko.Yamazaki@thomsonreuters.com; +81-3-4563-2805;)) The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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