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Zigexn CEO Seeks Deals to Emulate SoftBank Billionaire Son

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Zigexn CEO Joe Hirao
Joe Hirao, chief executive officer of Zigexn Co. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

May 30 (Bloomberg) -- Zigexn Co., owner of a job search website, may announce multiple acquisitions as early as this summer as the company seeks growth, said Chief Executive Officer Joe Hirao.

Zigexn, whose shares have fallen 49 percent from their peak in 2013, wants to add new services to its 15 websites that offer job and apartment searches and Internet dating, Hirao said in a May 28 interview. The Tokyo-based company has a staff of 80 and recently moved to offices that can accommodate 300 employees, he said. The shares today closed at the highest level in almost two months.

Hirao, who plans to start an online securities unit this year pending regulatory approval, is seeking to boost the company’s market value by about 20-fold to 1 trillion yen ($9.8 billion) in the next decade. A 31-year-old Keio University graduate, he is also an attendee of a management training course run by SoftBank Corp. Chairman Masayoshi Son.

“It took 25 years for Son-san to achieve a market value of 10 trillion yen,” Hirao said. “I will try to achieve it within 20 years. I think it’s achievable.”

Zigexn also has 30 employees in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Hirao said.

The shares rose 15 percent to close at 1010 yen in Tokyo, the highest since April 2, paring this year’s decline to 47 percent. The benchmark Topix index added 0.1 percent today.

November IPO

Zigexn’s initial public offering raised 5.13 billion yen in November before a green shoe option was exercised, taking the total amount raised to 5.9 billion yen, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company received net proceeds of about 900 million yen from the share sale, Zigexn spokeswoman Kana Numajiri said by phone.

Jafco Co., Japan’s biggest venture-capital firm, invested in the the company prior to its listing and has made at least 7 billion yen, Numajiri estimated.

Kengo Ueha, a spokesman for Jafco, declined to comment on individual investments the company makes.

Zigexn’s shares more than doubled to 1,550 yen on the first day investors traded the stock in November.

Hirao became CEO in 2008, when Zigexn was a venture between Recruit Holdings Co. and Drecom Co. In 2010, he led a management buyout and Recruit, a Japanese human-resources company, remains a client.

To contact the reporters on this story: Grace Huang in Tokyo at xhuang66@bloomberg.net; Shigeru Sato in Tokyo at ssato10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Teo Chian Wei at cwteo@bloomberg.net Aaron Clark

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