Maverick fund management group Regent Pacific has launched a $784 million hostile takeover bid for locally listed investment holding company Pioneer Industries International, the latest move in its two-year bid to gain control of the company. Regent is offering Pioneer shareholders $1.75 a share, a 42 per cent premium to Pioneer's closing price yesterday of $1.23, and is seeking acceptances from Pioneer shareholders by May 15. Regent - which has established a reputation for aggressively acquiring undervalued firms or assets in an attempt to realise shareholder value - originally purchased a 20 per cent stake in Pioneer in 1995. It attempted to change the firm's management following the acquisition but failed after its proposed changes were rejected by shareholders who stayed loyal to the firm's controlling Gaw family. Pioneer is an investment holding company whose primary assets include a 3.77 per cent stake in Thai-listed Bangkok Bank, a property portfolio in the US as well as other interests in Thailand, Malaysia and the mainland. The Bangkok Bank stake is responsible for between 70 and 80 per cent of Pioneer's income every year. Regent chairman Jim Mellon said if the takeover was successful, it would offload the Bangkok Bank stake - presently worth about $550 million - as well as the US properties. 'The offeror intends that the proposed new board of Pioneer should assess the worth of Pioneer's investments and properties, select certain of them for disposal and implement such disposals promptly,' he said. Regent said one of its first moves would be to massively reduce directors remuneration from the present $35.7 million to a proposed $5 million, one of its main disputes with the Gaw family-led management. 'The objective is to build up cash in Pioneer by reducing costs and disposing of assets to fund dividend payments to the shareholders of Pioneer while streamlining the Pioneer group so that it retains its core business of investments and property,' Regent said. Regent has long been a thorn in Pioneer's side, publishing an open letter last year when the company tried to conduct a $107 million rights issue which stated the move ran contrary to the interests of shareholders. Pioneer's shares were trading at $6.70 just 18 months ago but have been hit badly by the collapse of the Thai economy and the subsequent drop in Bangkok Bank's share price.