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KKR inks First major Japan deal

18 Jun 2010

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co has today announced its first major deal in Japan, with the private equity major buying Intelligence, a recruitment services subsidiary of Tokyo-based cable broadcaster Usen, for 32.5bn yen ($358.4m).

The deal, expected to close by the end of next month, was reported earlier this week but has now been officially inked.

KKR is said to have trumped other buy-out houses, including Carlyle, to win the auction for the carved out business.

This is the first notable deal for KKR in Japan on an ownership basis. The private equity firm opened a Tokyo office in 2005 and invested 20bn yen ($220.9m) in consumer credit company Orient two years later. However, the deal involved a slight 4.5 per cent stake in Orient’s listed stock, in a case of KKR testing the water in the country.

Established in 1989, Intelligence’s three core business areas are permanent job placement, where the company holds the second largest market share in Japan; temporary staffing and outsourcing, with a particular strength in the IT sector; and job search advertising, where the company is again number two in market share in the country, according to KKR.

The buy-out houses CEO and managing director in Japan, Shusaku Minoda, said that Intelligence is “well positioned to take advantage of an anticipated upturn in economic activity”.

Japan has a relatively immature private equity industry and has yet to place any landmark exits on its mantel, despite its standing as an economic power.

KKR is one of private equity’s principal firms, managing close to $55bn.

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