MBK Partners Said to Plan Sale of Pearl Jewelry Brand Tasaki

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MBK Partners Ltd., the private-equity firm founded by former Carlyle Group LP executives, is seeking to sell control of Japanese pearl jewelry brand Tasaki & Co., people with knowledge of the matter said.

MBK has started an auction of its Tasaki preference shares, which are convertible into new common stock equal to more than 75 percent of the company, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

The jewelry maker, based in the western Japanese city of Kobe, returned to profit in 2013 following eight years of losses, and in March boosted its net income forecast for this financial year to 1.65 billion yen ($14 million). Tasaki, founded in 1959, sells pearl and diamond jewelry and runs its own pearl farms in Japan and overseas, according to its website.

Shares of Tasaki fell 11 percent in Tokyo, the most since February 2014, after closing Tuesday at the highest level since 2008.

MBK first invested in Tasaki in 2008, according to company filings. Tasaki’s total debt has fallen to 15 percent of its equity, down from a peak of 108 percent in 2005, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Masahiko Tanaka, an investor relations manager at Tasaki, said the company isn’t in a position to comment on MBK’s activities. Seikyu Hong, an external spokesman for MBK at Weber Shandwick in Seoul, declined to comment.

Tasaki’s net income for the quarter ended Jan. 31 almost tripled to 737 million yen, according to financial statements on its website. Revenue rose 12 percent to 5.1 billion yen, driven by an increase in foreign tourists to Japan.

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