North Asia-focused private equity firm MBK Partners has put up for sale Japanese jewelry brand Tasaki, in a deal that could value it at more than $500 million, three people with knowledge of the matter have said.

MBK has hired investment bank Daiwa Securities to run the sale, which has entered a second round, said two of the sources. All three sources declined to be named as the information was confidential.

MBK has also approached several private equity firms in a bid to sell them the brand, two of the sources said.

Tasaki declined to confirm any information about the sale. MBK and Daiwa declined to comment.

Established in 1954, Kobe-based Tasaki is known for pearl jewelry and operates over 100 retail stores in Japan, across Asia and in Europe.

MBK took the company private in 2017 in a ¥31.5 billion ($209.5 million) buyout to help speed up decision-making and expand outside Japan.

The buyout came nearly a decade after a ¥7 billion capital injection by MBK saved Tasaki from a crisis caused by intense competition with cheap Chinese pearls. The investment resulted in huge returns when MBK exited in 2015.

MBK has invested in a number of Japanese companies including Godiva Japan and nursing care provider Tsukui Holdings.

Advocacy groups Human Rights Now and Justice for Myanmar in 2021 called Tasaki to end all business with Myanmar Pearl Enterprise (MPE) when the United States imposed sanctions on MPE. The groups accused Tasaki of supporting the junta by maintaining business with the state-owned enterprise.

The alleged Myanmar ties have limited the scope of potential bidders, said one of the three sources, as well as a fourth person with knowledge of the sale process.

Tasaki did not answer questions about the Myanmar allegations in its statement.