Steel Partners Nearly Exits Sapporo Holdings

U.S. fund Steel Partners has nearly exited its investment in Sapporo Holdings, cutting what was once an 18.64% stake in the company to nearly zero, Reuters reported. The fund began offloading shares in October, and now owns 0.15 percent of the brewer after the latest reduction.

(Reuters) – U.S. fund Steel Partners has slashed its stake in Sapporo Holdings (2501.T) nearly to zero, according to a public filing, as the investor parts ways with the brewer amid a retreat from Japanese equities.

The fund, which held as much as an 18.64 percent stake in Sapporo Holdings earlier this year and was the beermaker’s largest stakeholder until recently, began to offload chunks of its shares in October after criticising the firm’s management.

Steel Partners, which has achieved mixed results with a diverse portfolio of more than 20 Japanese firms, now owns 0.15 percent of the brewer after the latest reduction.

Shares of Sapporo jumped 5.5 percent on Thursday to settle at 384 yen, making it the biggest gainer among components of the benchmark Nikkei 225 average .N225.

Sapporo’s stock has risen nearly one-fourth from its October low on speculation that greater liquidity in its shares could increase its chances of becoming a takeover target as Japan’s stagnant beverage industry restructures. (Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Edmund Klamann)