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Kubota President and Chairman Masumoto Found Dead in Tokyo Hotel

Kubota Corp. Chairman and President Yasuo Masumoto
Kubota Corp. Chairman and President Yasuo Masumoto speaks during an interview in Tokyo, on Monday, March 11, 2013. Masumoto died while staying in a Tokyo hotel. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Yasuo Masumoto, chairman and president of farm and industrial machinery maker Kubota Corp., died while staying in a Tokyo hotel. He was 67.

The executive failed to leave his room after breakfast and was found collapsed in the bathroom after the company raised concerns, a spokeswoman for the Osaka-based manufacturer said by telephone today, declining to be named in line with policy. The cause of death hasn’t been determined, she said.

Vice President Masatoshi Kimata takes over as acting president, the spokeswoman said. Kyodo News reported the death earlier.

Masumoto joined Kubota in April 1971 and rose to the rank of president in 2009, adding the position of chairman two years later, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He held stock in the company worth about $893,401, the data show.

He oversaw Kubota’s purchase of Norway’s Kverneland ASA, which was completed in May 2012. The Japanese industrial machinery maker also bought Shin Fujikasui Engineering Co. the same year.

In a March 2013 interview with Bloomberg, Masumoto said the company was on the lookout for acquisitions. Kubota had approached acquisition targets that own large tractors and aimed to settle a deal by the end of 2013, Masumoto said at the time, without naming any companies.

Kubota, which specializes in smaller tractors and combines for wet paddy fields, has been seeking to add large tractors powerful enough to plow big fields that grow wheat and corn -- a market dominated by Deere & Co., CNH Global NV and Agco Corp.

The equipment maker’s shares more than doubled since Masumoto took on the role as president.

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