Bain agrees partial exit in Japan

The firm will sell 49.9% of Bellsystem24 to ITOCHU Corporation, retaining a majority stake

Bain Capital has sold 49.9 percent of Japanese portfolio company Bellsystem24 to domestic trade buyer ITOCHU Corporation for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement.

The firm, which acquired the business in 2009, retains a 50.1 percent interest and plans to work closely with the new partners to expand the company into new areas, leveraging ITOCHU’s network and IT expertise.

“Since Bain Capital acquired Bellsystem in 2009, our investment in the company’s advanced IT infrastructure, and implementation of significant operating improvements, have transformed the business into a world-class operation. The continued improvements in service quality and productivity have enabled Bellsystem to strengthen its leading industry position,” David Gross-Loh, managing director at Bain, said in a statement.

Bellsystem24 was an early provider of customer relationship management outsourcing through call centres and has been around for about 30 years. The company’s new owner ITOCHU focuses on domestic and overseas trading of various products and is trying to strengthen its business in the non-resource sector, as well as intending to better use its IT expertise.

“Bain Capital’s resources and global call centre expertise have greatly supported and strengthened the company’s operations. We now look forward to working collaboratively with ITOCHU to further unlock growth opportunities for Bellsystem by leveraging ITOCHU’s large network of companies and IT expertise,” Gross-Loh added.

Bain has been one of the more successful foreign private equity firms in the Japan market, consistently doing large transactions in the country as others held back.

In August last year, the firm also successfully exited its investment in Domino’s Pizza Japan in a $123 million deal, selling a 75 percent stake of the business to Domino’s Australia, Private Equity International reported earlier.

Bain Capital was founded by Mitt Romney and currently has about $75 billion in assets under management. Bain Capital Asia, the firm's Asian private equity affiliate, established a presence in the region in 2007 and includes businesses such as MYOB, Skylark, ASIMCO, Feixiang, GA Pack, GOME, Hero Investments and Jupiter Shop Channel among its portfolio.

Bain Capital has more than 900 employees and offices in Boston, New York, Chicago, Palo Alto, London, Munich, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Melbourne.