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Mitsui Fudosan to Redevelop Areas around Tokyo Dome after Successful Takeover of Operating Firm

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Mitsui Fudosan President Masanobu Komoda speaks during an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun in Tokyo on Dec. 10.

In an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun, Mitsui Fudosan Co. President Masanobu Komoda, 66, expressed his intention to tackle the redevelopment of areas around Tokyo Dome if the property developer succeeds in acquiring Tokyo Dome Corp. through its tender offer. (see below).

The following is excerpted from the interview.

The Yomiuri Giants are an iconic sports team in Japan with brand value and the ability to draw a lot of spectators. The team can said to be an indispensable resource for stadium management. It is very important to operate the baseball team and the stadium in an integrated manner.

Tokyo Dome Corp. has know-how in operating the stadium and also the ability to design events. The fact that concerts of famous artists can be held at the stadium is a valuable managerial asset. Mitsui Fudosan, Tokyo Dome Corp. and The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings are the best team for the job as they have the factors necessary for urban development with the stadium as its center.

Mitsui Fudosan was able to have extremely friendly discussions with Hong Kong-based investment fund Oasis Management, the largest shareholder of Tokyo Dome Corp.

Concerning the framework for the purchase, Oasis Management had a high opinion of the three companies, saying they are “a very good team.” The investment fund also said that a purchase price of ¥1,300 per share was a “very good price.” The price was decided after due consideration of the future profitability and its interest-bearing debts of about ¥160 billion as of the end of July.

As there was no complaint about the purchase price, we see that as Oasis Management’s expression of its intention to accept the tender offer. There are many points in the business improvement measures proposed by Oasis Management to Tokyo Dome Corp. that overlapped with our proposals to improve the management of the company.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An aerial view of Tokyo Dome City with Tokyo Dome as its center on Nov. 27

■ Aiming for 21st-century style

If our purchase of Tokyo Dome Corp. is successful, we will first of all increase the value of the current facility. Restrictions have been imposed due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, but if measures are taken with a sense of speed, I don’t consider it impossible to have the company in the black in fiscal 2021.

After that, it will be necessary to take into account the redevelopment of the entire area around the stadium. It is more than 30 years since Tokyo Dome was built. With 40,000 tsubo (about 132,230 square meters) of land in the central part in Tokyo, the stadium operator has potential.

There is a need to redevelop the area in a 21st-century style that focuses on the arrangement of facilities, including commercial establishments, hotels and amusement parks. In the redevelopment plan, we’ll take into account not solely the stadium, but the entire area around the stadium.

We’re aiming for a next-generation stadium that is prepared for the possible outbreak of a pandemic. In preparation for such an emergency, in which it is impossible to attract spectators, it is indispensable to have a setup that enables sporting events and other events to be broadcast online.

On the other hand, it is essential for people to be able to feel things directly. Through the experience of the coronavirus pandemic, we have come to understand that people primarily seek in-person interaction. It becomes necessary to take thorough measures for ventilation and disinfection at the stadium, making elevators, door knobs and other spots as contactless as possible and preparing sanitized seats, to create safe and secure closed-in spaces.

We are planning to provide services in which spectators will be able to see a replay of a game on their smartphone screens even while watching the game at the stadium, and also place an order with their smartphones for food that is delivered directly to their seats. We also intend to prepare a system in which they will be able to check how crowded the toilets are.

■ Mitsui’s advantage

Tokyo Dome and its surrounds are designated as a city planning park (see below), so there is a higher level of difficulty when it comes to developing the area. Mitsui Fudosan has experience with city planning projects coupled with a park, such as the Tokyo Midtown complex in Minato Ward, Tokyo, and Miyashita Park in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo. It is a field in which we can display our strength.

There are many restraints, such as the percentage of green space and the building-to-land ratio. We have an advantage in environmentally friendly city planning while sufficiently taking the restraints into consideration.

Large-scale development takes time. It needs management vitality and we’re careful in our financial structure. We’re ready to contain our interest-bearing debt balance as much as possible and retain extra capacity to invest. In that sense, we can display our good points.

■ Takeover bid for Tokyo Dome Corp.

Mitsui Fudosan is offering to buy shares in Tokyo Dome Corp. from Nov. 30 to Jan. 18 next year to make it a wholly owned subsidiary. After the purchase, the property developer plans to sell 20% of Tokyo Dome Corp. shares to The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings. According to Mitsui Fudosan, Oasis Management, the largest shareholder of Tokyo Dome Corp., indicated to the property developer on Dec. 7 its intention to accept the offer.

■ City planning park

An area designated by local governments under the City Planning Law as a park that needs to be developed in an integrated manner. The conservation of scenery and the environment is required in the area. Even if it is privately owned land, restrictions are imposed when a building is constructed in the area and approval from local governments is needed.