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Ripplewood Holdings LLC announced Wednesday it has nominated four businessmen, including two former executives of U.S. telecom firm Sprint Corp., for Japan Telecom Co.’s board of directors.

The U.S. investment fund also said it has picked four foreign investment firms as joint investors in Japan Telecom.

By the end of the year, Ripplewood is expected to finalize its acquisition of the Japanese fixed-line firm from Japan Telecom Holdings Co., a unit of British Vodafone Group PLC, for 261 billion yen.

William Esrey, a former chief executive officer of Sprint, will become chairman of Japan Telecom’s board. Ronald LeMay, a former chief operating officer of Sprint, will become a lead director overseeing operations.

Joining the board from Ripplewood will be Timothy Collins, chief executive officer, and Jeffrey Hendren, a managing director.

Ripplewood is looking for a Japanese to be president of Japan Telecom, Hendren said.

“(Japan) is a challenging market . . . that also means opportunities,” Esrey said, adding he will work to upgrade Japan Telecom’s market position by using his experience at Sprint.

Newly announced investors to Japan Telecom are: GS Capital Partners 2000, L.P., an investment vehicle of U.S. securities firm Goldman Sachs; Newbridge Asia III, L.P., a U.S. private equity firm; PPM Ventures Ltd., a British private equity finance firm; and Telecom Venture Group Ltd., a Hong Kong-based private equity firm.

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