• Kyodo

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U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital LLC said on Monday it will launch a ¥9.5 billion ($79.8 million) takeover bid for Yukiguni Maitake Co., amid a conflict over management control at the Japanese mushroom producer.

Bain hopes to obtain at least a majority stake in Yukiguni Maitake, while looking to wholly own the Niigata Prefecture-based company known for having succeeded in the mass production of “maitake,” which are commonly known as ram’s head mushrooms.

If Bain succeeds in the buyout, Yukiguni Maitake would be delisted from the Second Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Bain is expected to help turn Yukiguni Maitake’s businesses around by working with management as well as lenders to eliminate influence over the company from founder and major shareholder, Yoshinobu Odaira.

Bain offered to buy Yukiguni Maitake shares at ¥245 each, at 18.4 percent premium on its Friday closing price of ¥207.

The takeover bid will last from Feb. 24 to April 6, with many Yukiguni stakeholder banks already showing their intention to accept the offer. Daishi Bank, which has 39.23 percent of the company’s shares as collateral for a loan to a shareholder has already voiced its approval of the deal.

Yukiguni’s management dispute came to light last year, when major shareholders including the founding family opposed a personnel proposal from management at its general shareholders meeting in June. The meeting ended with a change of company president.

The company, founded in 1983, posted a group net profit of ¥1.3 billion on sales of ¥28.8 billion for the business year through March 2014. Amid intensifying competition from other firms, it marked a precipitous 51 percent fall in net profit to ¥258 million in the nine months to December from a year earlier.

Odaira stepped down as president in 2013 to take responsibility for past accounting problems at the company.

Separately, Bain said earlier this month it would purchase Japanese hotel and spa operator Ooedo-Onsen Holdings for around ¥50 billion, in an attempt to capitalize on a surge in the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan.

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