KKR continues Japan build-up

The global firm has promoted Shusaku Minoda to chairman of KKR Japan and hired a new managing director and chief executive for the country, after adding two professionals last month.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts continues the build up of its Japan presence through a hire and a promotion, increasing the team to 13.

Shusaku Minoda has been promoted to chairman of the region. Minoda has been with KKR since 2007 and was most recently managing director and chief executive of KKR Japan. In his new role, Minoda will focus primarily on maintaining KKR Japan's current relationships with businesses and stakeholders.

“As KKR and indeed the private equity industry continue to grow within Japan, we need to be sure the right message is delivered to the key stakeholders,” Minoda told Private Equity International.

KKR has also hired Hirofumi Hirano from AlixPartners Asia to replace Minoda as managing director and chief executive of KKR Japan. Hirano was most recently managing director and head of Asia financial service industry practice at AlixPartners.

“The appointment of Hiro Hirano… is an important step forward as KKR continues to grow our private equity franchise and broaden our focus to other areas of asset management and capital markets,” Joseph Bae, managing partner of KKR Asia, said in the statement.

Minoda believes the firm's recent hires will contribute to the firm's ability to offer different kinds of capital to Japanese companies. A localised approach and winning the trust of local executives is one of the firm's key priorities, he says.

“Your potential partner may need a structured equity solution or a structured debt solution, and we want to have the flexibility to work up and down a capital structure to provide solutions,” he said.

Both appointments are effective April 15th.

Your potential partner may need a structured equity solution or a structured debt solution, and we want to have the flexibility to work up and down a capital structure to provide solutions

Shusaku Minoda, KKR Japan

KKR has been steadily adding to the ranks of its Japan team as it prepares to close its $6 billion Asia fund, the largest ever raised for the region. 

In March, Hiro Shimizu joined KKR Capital Markets, which specialises in offering capital markets advice to KKR’s portfolio companies and third-party clients, PEI reported earlier. The same month, Sakae Suzuki joined KKR Capstone, an independent consulting firm which focuses exclusively on making operational changes in KKR’s portfolio companies.

KKR has been eyeing partnerships with Japanese corporates that want to make offshore acquisitions, and has already made two such strategic partnerships, Bae said at a recent industry event. The firm hopes these will ultimately support investment opportunities for the new fund, and Minoda added that KKR will continue to look for more partnerships.

The firm has not made an investment in Japan since 2010, when it acquired recruitment services company Intelligence Holdings. Last month, it sold Intelligence to Japanese corporate buyer Temp Holdings for ¥68 billion (€562 million; $720 million). According to a source close to the matter, the exit brought a 5x multiple.

KKR has $75.5 billion assets under management worldwide, and has invested $5 billion in 28 companies across the region, according to the statement.