Seven & i shares surge 7% after news of ValueAct stake build-up

Kyoto, Japan. Photo: Alex Wolfe/Unsplash

Seven & i Holdings shares surged more than 7% to a two-year high on Thursday after news it was targeted by activist investor ValueAct Capital, which asked the Japanese owner of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain to restructure itself.

ValueAct amassed a $1.53 billion, or 4.4%, stake in Seven & i and wants it to take steps to boost its value, including a potential break-up, Reuters reported.

“We refrain from commenting on individual shareholders’ matters. Not only in this case, but also in the future, we will continue to engage in dialogue with our shareholders,” Seven & i said in an emailed statement when asked for a comment.

Seven & i shares surged to as high as 7.3% in morning trading, compared with a 2% fall of the benchmark Nikkei stock average.

Seven & i became the latest in a growing list of Japanese companies to face pressure from investment funds. Shareholder activism is booming in Japan, driven by a government push to provide higher returns to investors.

San Francisco-based ValueAct has had some notable success in Japan, where companies traditionally have been wary of activist investors.

One of the fund’s partners, Robert Hale, joined the board of Olympus Corp in 2019. Shares in the maker of endoscopes have nearly trebled since early 2019.

ValueAct told its investors on Wednesday in a letter seen byReuters that it built a 4.4% stake in Seven & i and believesthat the sum of its parts is worth much more than its currentmarket value. The hedge fund said the 7-Eleven business could be worthmore than double what its parent is currently valued at if thecompany restructures itself to focus on the convenience storesor if 7-Eleven is spun out.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.