Steel Partners has struck a big blow for activist hedge funds in Japan, succeeding in ousting most of wig maker Aderans Holdings’ board of directors, including its president.
Steel’s success, the first time a Japanese company has suffered such a defeat at the hands of an activist hedge fund, comes after a year in which many hedge funds, including New York-based Steel, have been stymied in their efforts.
Seven members of the Aderans board, including President Takayoshi Okamoto, failed to win reelection at the company’s annual meeting.
Steel owns 26.7% of Aderans. It is agitating for change—usually greeted with an icy shoulder—at about 30 Japanese companies, including brewer Sapporo Holdings, confectionary Ezaki Glico and spice maker House Foods Corp.
Last year, it was condemned by a Tokyo court as an “abusive acquirer” in its hostile takeover bid for condiment maker Bull-Dog Sauce Co.