Japanese private equity firm Advantage Partners is selling supermarket chain Seijo Ishii and has received several bids for the asset, a source told PEI Asia.
The highest bid so far has been an offer of more than ¥40 billion (€359.9 million; $475.5 million), the source added, but declined to give out further information. The final round of bids will be due at the end of January next year.
According to a Reuters report, private equity firms Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners are among the short-listed bidders, as well as Japanese financial firm Orix Corp and Marunouchi Capital, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings.
Both Advantage Partners and Bain Capital declined to comment, and CVC did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Seijo Ishii, which is reportedly valued at around ¥30 billion, is owned by restaurant operator Rex Holdings. In December 2006, Advantage Partners acquired a 92 percent stake in Rex Holdings for $505 million.
In October, Advantage Partners reportedly hired Nomura Holdings to seek out an additional investor for its portfolio company Tokyo Star Bank. The extra capital could potentially be used to pay down debt from the original buyout, which took place in March 2008, according to a Reuters report which cited “four people with direct knowledge of the matter”.
On the investment front, Advantage Partners paid an undisclosed sum to acquire telecommunications provider TeleGuam Holdings last month from Los Angeles’ Shamrock Capital Advisors. The investment was made from the firm’s fourth buyout fund, which closed on ¥215 billion in 2007.
Established in 1992, the Tokyo-based buyout firm has up till now invested predominately in Japanese assets. But in July this year, it acquired a 14 percent stake in Hong Kong-listed media services company Qin Jia Yuan Media Services for an undisclosed amount.
The firm opened its Hong Kong office in September 2007.