Bain makes $315m partial exit from Skylark

The firm has offloaded a third of its remaining stake in the Japanese restaurant chain for $315m.

Boston-headquartered Bain Capital Private Equity sold approximately 21.4 million of its shares in Japanese restaurant chain Skylark, representing a gain of ¥35 billion yen ($315 million; ¥292 million) for the firm.

Shares were sold at ¥1,635 per share, according to a filing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Bain acquired 100 percent of Skylark from the investment arm of Nomura Holdings for ¥160 billion in 2011, one of the largest buyout deals in Japan at that time.

Two years later, the firm offloaded about a third of its stake in the restaurant chain through an initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and raised ¥66.8 billion. In May 2015, Bain further reduced its stake selling a combined 45.8 million shares valued at around $950 million.

The firm did not disclose overall return information on the deal and continues to own a 33.1 percent stake in Skylark following the sale.

The firm’s investment came from its first Asia buyout fund, 2007-vintage, $ 1 billion Bain Capital Asia Fund.

Founded in Tokyo in 1970, Skylark owns and operates over 3,000 restaurants in Japan including Bamiyan, Gusto and Jonathan’s. London-based private equity firm CVC previously held a stake in the restaurant.

Over the course of its ownership, Bain helped Skylark recruit new management from companies such as McDonald’s, Starbucks and Uniqlo. Bain also improved the company’s profitability and top-line revenue growth, implemented data and analytics and monitoring systems, and optimised store operations.

Bain, with over $75 billion under management, has been active in Japan since 2006. The firm’s country portfolio includes the master franchisee for Domino's Pizza in Japan, call centre operator Bellsystem24, hot spring chain operator Ooedo Onsen, and television shopping channel Jupiter Shop Channel.