TCI Urges Japan PM To Sell Remaining Tobacco Co. Shares

May 21 2014 | 12:13pm ET

The Children’s Investment Fund hasn’t enjoyed any success in its previous activist campaigns in Japan, but the London-based firm isn’t giving up.

TCI is urging the Japanese government to sell its one-third stake in Japan Tobacco, and to do it quickly. The request comes about a year after TCI failed to convince JT shareholders to vote for its set of proposals, including a much higher dividend, after a two-year campaign.

The hedge fund is trying again, pushing for a 10% buyback at JT’s annual meeting next month. In addition to pushing for divestment, TCI wants Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to vote in favor of that proposal.

TCI’s letter to Abe comes after Japan sold a 17% stake in JT last year. The time has come to end its ownership of the company, TCI said.

“We now strongly recommend that the government immediately fully privatize JT, as it is not of strategic importance for the country,” TCI wrote.


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