Wires

Blackstone awaits Unizo response on $1.6 bln buyout proposal

TOKYO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group said on Friday it is waiting for Japanese hotel operator Unizo Holdings to respond to its $1.6 billion takeover proposal.

Blackstone in October emerged as a bidder for Unizo and told the hotel chain it would launch a tender offer or explore other options if Unizo did not agree to its offer by a deadline, which it keeps extending.

Blackstone said it was waiting for Unizo's formal written response on its latest proposed transaction terms. The buyout fund said it would make an announcement if there were any material changes in circumstances no later than later than Dec 13.

Blackstone has offered to buy Unizo for 5,000 yen a share, valuing the company at 171 billion yen ($1.6 billion).

Unizo is at the center of a flurry of bid activity due to the attractive value of its assets. In July, the company was the target of a hostile bid by a Japanese travel agent H.I.S. Co . Unizo turned to U.S. buyout firm Fortress Investment Group to fend off the bid. But later withdrew support for Fortress' white-knight offer.

Fortress, which last month raised its bid for Unizo, is currently running its public tender offer at 4,100 yen a share.

Unizo shares closed at 4,825 yen in Tokyo on Friday.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita. Editing by Jane Merriman)