Carlyle Said in Talks to Buy Japanese Snack Maker Oyatsu

Carlyle Group LP is in talks to buy Oyatsu Co., the 65-year-old Japanese maker of crispy snacks, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Carlyle may pay at least 25 billion yen ($246 million) for Oyatsu, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Oyatsu is based in Tsu in western Japan’s Mie prefecture.

Closely held Oyatsu is best known for its Baby Star snack, which is made from the byproducts of manufacturing noodles. The company, founded in 1948, posted sales of 18.2 billion yen in the year through July 31, according to its website.

The purchase would add to the $1.7 billion of acquisitions Carlyle has completed in Japan over the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Private-equity firms have announced $2.7 billion of consumer deals in the country in the past 12 months, up from $2.5 billion a year earlier, the data show.

Oyatsu has 370 employees and is led by Chief Executive Officer Yoshiaki Matsuda, the son of the company’s founder, its website shows. Spokesmen for Oyatsu and Carlyle’s Japan unit declined to comment.

The food producer, whose name means “snack” in Japanese, started as a noodle maker and began selling Baby Star in 1959, according to the company’s website. Oyatsu now exports the snack to other parts of Asia including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore and started Mexico sales in 2006.

Covalent Sale

Carlyle is the world’s second-biggest manager of alternative investments such as private equity and real estate, with $199 billion in assets. It started its first Japan fund in 2001 and raised 165.6 billion yen for its second fund in 2006, according to its website.

In 2012, the buyout firm acquired Diversey GK, a provider of cleaning services to Japanese companies, for about 30 billion yen. The year before, it purchased bearing and machine tool maker Tsubaki Nakashima Co. from Nomura Holdings Inc. at an enterprise value of 66 billion yen.

Carlyle and Japanese private-equity firm Unison Capital Inc. plan to sell semiconductor-parts maker Covalent Materials Corp., people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month. The two firms are preparing an auction for the proposed sale of Tokyo-based Covalent and are seeking to sell it for about 50 billion yen, according to one of the people.

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