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Nomura Said to Plan Selling Restaurant Chain Skylark to Bain

A file photograph shows a Skylark Co. restaurant in Tokyo. Photographer: Andy Rain/Bloomberg
A file photograph shows a Skylark Co. restaurant in Tokyo. Photographer: Andy Rain/Bloomberg

Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest brokerage, plans to sell local family restaurant chain Skylark Co. to Bain Capital LLC, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

Bain is in talks to buy Skylark from Nomura in a deal valued at about 300 billion yen ($3.6 billion) including debt, the Nikkei newspaper reported earlier today, without citing anyone. Nomura spokeswoman Keiko Sugai declined to comment, as did Bain Capital’s Atsushi Kuse.

Skylark would be the second sale by Nomura’s private-equity unit this year, as the Tokyo-based securities firm prepares for stricter global capital rules. Nomura agreed to sell Japanese bearing and machine tool maker Tsubaki Nakashima Co. to Carlyle Group, the brokerage said on March 1.

Skylark, which started business in 1970, operates about 3,700 restaurants mainly in Japan. Nomura led a management and employee buyout of Skylark in 2006.

Buyout deals in Japan this year will probably exceed 2010 levels, when there were 69 transactions valued at 174.1 billion yen, Tamotsu Adachi, head of the Japan Private Equity Association, said this month. Japanese companies are selling more secondary businesses and looking for partners that can help them expand abroad, said Adachi, who is also co-head of Carlyle’s Japan operations.

Nomura Principal Finance Co. owns 40.2 percent shares in Skylark, and Nomura-led investors have 34.7 percent, according to the restaurant group’s financial statement published on Feb. 16. The brokerage has 3.7 percent of preferred shares in Skylark. Skylark posted profit of 7.9 billion yen for the year ended Dec. 31, and revenue was 242.1 billion yen, the statement showed.

Nomura ended investments in Huis Ten Bosch, a Japanese holiday resort, and builder Misawa Homes Co. last year. It still has a stake in Ashikaga Bank Ltd., a regional lender. The brokerage is expanding abroad including in the U.S., where it’s spending 250 billion yen.

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