Bain's $1.1bn bid wins BellSystem24

The US private equity firm reportedly beat out competing bids from Permira and a CVC Asia Pacific-Blackstone Group partnership.

Bain Capital will buy 93.5 percent of Japan’s largest telemarketing company, BellSystem24, from Citigroup Capital Partners Japan. 

The Boston-headquartered firm's offer valued the company at about ¥100 billion ($1.1 billion; €746.7 million). Lenders on the deal were Japanese banks Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Corporate Bank. No details on the breakdown of financing have been disclosed.

The BellSystem24 deal is the largest buyout in Japan since March, when Goldman Sachs Capital Partners acquired the outstanding shares in Universal Studios Japan (USJ) for about ¥140 billion.

Bain reportedly beat out other private equity firms bidding on BellSystem24, including Permira and a partnership between CVC Asia Pacific and the Blackstone Group. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts also reportedly teamed up with Japan’s Itochu Group early in the auction process, but subsequently withdrew.

Citigroup’s sale of BellSystem24 is part of its ongoing divestment programme to shore up its balance sheet. It acquired the company in August 2004 through one of its private equity arms, Nikko Principal Investments Japan, and took it private in January 2005.

Bain Capital has a seven-strong team based in Tokyo. Prior to the BellSystem24 acquisition, it had made three investments in the country: audio equipment company Denon & Morantz; communications equipment leasing company Sun Telephone; and payment acceptance systems developer MEI/Conlux. The latter, in which the firm teamed up with Japanese private equity firm Advantage Partners in 2006, was its first deal in Asia.