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Daiei owner downplays possible sale of Hawks.

FUKUOKA, Jan. 11 Kyodo

Daiei Hawks owner Tadashi Nakauchi said Friday that a sale of the Pacific League club by debt-ridden supermarket chain operator Daiei Inc. was highly unlikely.

Nakauchi was speaking about reports that, as part of its restructuring measures, Daiei Inc. has planned to sell a major stake in the Fukuoka club to local business interests.

Nakauchi, however, said that operation of the team by a group of local companies would be difficult, if not impossible.

''There is a lot of talk in the media but there is really nothing to worry about. The operations are in good standing and we will figure ways to make profits again,'' Nakauchi said in a meeting with Daiei Hawks president Takeshi Kotsuka and manager Sadaharu Oh.

''We would like to regain the number one spot in our industry and make this baseball team the champion again,'' Nakauchi added.

Nakauchi said further that even if shares were sold it would take at least 10 years to pay out dividends and that local companies were already assisting the Hawks by purchasing season tickets.

Kotsuka also denied the sale of the team. ''At this moment, I have heard nothing from Daiei Inc. about the sale of shares,'' he said.

Sources at Daiei Inc. said Thursday that the company, which has 2.3 trillion yen in interest-bearing group debts, plans to sell the majority of its stakes in the Hawks and other affiliates in Fukuoka Prefecture to local enterprises in a new bailout plan.
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Comment:Daiei owner downplays possible sale of Hawks.
Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jan 14, 2002
Words:249
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