Merrills launches Japan buyout unit

Merrill Lynch, the global investment bank, has recruited Terutomo Mitsumasu to head up a new buyout operation in Japan.

Terutomo Mitsumasu is to spearhead a new buyout operation on behalf of Merrill Lynch & Co in Japan, according to a report in China Daily.

Mitsumasu has been recruited from Shinsei Bank, having previously been one of three co-founders of ABN Amro’s private equity team in Japan in 2001. The three co-founders, including Mitsumasu, had all previously been senior executives at JP Morgan Chase.

In his new role, Mitusmasu will report to Nathan Thorne, Merrill’s head of global private equity. 

According to the report,

Merrill Lynch had direct investments worth $702 million in Japanese companies in February 2005

Merrill Lynch had direct investments worth $702 million in Japanese companies in February 2005, compared with $248 million in 2000. The firm has about 1,300 employees working in Japan across all its business units according to its Tokyo-based spokesman Takayuki Inoue.

No further details of the operation, including how much capital will be made available for investments, has been disclosed at this stage.

The news follows a previous report that Permira, the London-based international buyout house, is seeking its first investments in Japan. Permira managing director Guido Paolo Gamucci was quoted in various sources as saying that Japan represented an important country for future growth and may provide better opportunities than the US.