Dance Over Nikko Cordial Continues

Apr. 3.07 | About: Nikko Cordial (NIKOY)

Orbis Investment Management has publicly slammed Citigroup's bid for Nikko Cordial (OTC:NIKOY) as too low and said it's seeking a higher price for its 56.5 million shares of the Japanese broker:

Citigroup's offer of 1,700 yen for the Nikko shares it doesn't already own "continues to materially undervalue the company,'' Bermuda-based Orbis said in a statement. Orbis wants to be bought out at 1,900 yen, or 12 percent more, and "will immediately place a firm selling order on the Tokyo Stock Exchange,'' the money manager said.

This bit ends the report:

In addition to Orbis, Harris Associates LP of Chicago, Southeastern Asset Management Inc of Memphis, Tennessee, and Mackenzie Financial Corp. of Toronto have said Citigroup's latest bid is too low.

You might have seen another report last week stating that Harris has reduced its Nikko stake by 1% or so. Which by itself doesn't mean a whole lot one way or the other.

With Nikko not being delisted, shareholders aren't facing nearly as much pressure to accept Citi's offer. They -- we -- could contentedly hold Nikko shares with the conviction that the market would ultimately realize the company's true value. Even if Citi doesn't. Or won't.

I now see a Bloomberg report that an unidentified investor placed a sell order for 56.5 million shares in Nikko Cordial:

Ten different entities entered orders to sell Nikko shares at 1,900 yen ($16) on the Tokyo exchange, according to Instinet Japan Ltd. The size of the stake matches the holding of Orbis Investment Management Ltd., which yesterday spurned Citigroup's 1,700-yen bid and said it would sell its shares in the market at 1,900 yen.

And this:

"Orbis is sending a message to other shareholders that they shouldn't accept the offer and that they should wait for the chance that Citigroup may raise it again,'' said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, a Tokyo-based equity strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc.