J-STAR seals back-to-back deals

The Tokyo-based firm has invested in online company ASIRO and insurance agency Hunel FEA from its ¥20.4bn Japan-focused buyout fund.

Japanese mid-market private equity firm J-STAR has invested in online media company ASIRO and completed a bolt-on acquisition for insurance company Nihon Hoken Service by acquiring Japanese insurer Hunel FEA this week, according to statements from the firm.

Financial details of the transactions were not disclosed but both were acquired using capital from the firm’s 2012-vintage J-STAR No. 2 Investment Limited Partnership, which raised ¥20.4 billion ($195 million; €177 million), smashing J-STAR’s ¥15 billion target. The fund is 85 percent invested, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

J-STAR acquired a majority stake in ASIRO, an online marketing platform provider for lawyers, from its founder Hiroto Nakayama, who will continue to hold shares and be involved in the management of the company.

J-STAR also invested in Tokyo-headquartered Hunel FEA which it will bolt on to its existing insurance company Nihon Hoken Service. The firm initially acquired Nihon Hoken Service in May 2015 with a buy-and-build strategy, adding Yokohama-based insurance agency Sokisha Corporation as its first add-on acquisition. With its latest insurance investment J-STAR’s insurance businesses will collectively be named NHS Group and will seek more acquisitions in the Japanese market to further enhance its growth, the firm said.

The firm has been deploying capital readily in H1, acquiring pharmacy chain Aisei Pharmacy, nursing care provider Platia, insurance agency Sokisha Corporation and energy solutions provider ESCO between January to April.

Along with its acquisition spree, J-STAR is in market with its third buyout fund, which is targeting ¥30 billion, and is set to announce a first close by late November, as previously reported by Private Equity International.