General Oyster Inc., Japan’s largest oyster restaurant operator, has been approached by several Chinese companies interested in buying a stake or perhaps acquiring the business, according to people familiar with the matter.
Three Chinese firms including a large internet company have expressed interest in separate deals with General Oyster, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The Tokyo-based company is considering whether to start talks with the potential partners, and may decline to engage, said the people. A spokeswoman for General Oyster declined to comment.
The Japanese company runs 27 oyster bars throughout Japan, harvesting wild shellfish and cultivating its own oysters, while cleaning them with deep ocean water for more than 60 hours to get rid of viruses, according to company disclosures. It exports them to Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Chinese companies are interested in General Oyster’s technology and techniques for producing oysters that avoid food poisoning dangers, they said. The company, which is in trials to farm 100 percent virus free oysters in Okinawa, received patents in 2017 and 2018.
There were 63 acquisitions of Japanese companies from greater China last year, worth a total of $3.1 billion and up from 41 deals worth $2.9 billion in 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.