Japan's Idemitsu abandons bid for rival Toa amid U.S. fund pressure

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese refiner Idemitsu Kosan said on Tuesday it has withdrawn its offer for a potential acquisition of smaller rival, Toa Oil Co, in which a U.S. investment fund has been building up a stake.

Idemitsu, which already owns 50.12% of Toa, said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange that it has withdrawn from the bid as it is unable to obtain the shares required to complete the acquisition process.

The company launched the tender offer in December to buy all the shares of Toa Oil at 2,450 yen each in a deal worth 15 billion yen ($143 million).

Toa shares have since surged to trade above Idemitsu’s offer. Shares of the Kanagawa-based oil refiner were trading down at 2,949 yen on Tuesday, as of 2314 GMT.

The failure in the bid comes after U.S. asset manager Cornwall Capital Management boosted its stake to about 23%, according to public filings, amassing a stake sufficient to block the deal.

Reporting by Junko Fujita, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips