Carlyle enters Japanese job market

The US-based global investor has agreed to acquire a Japanese publisher of magazines advertising job opportunities.

Carlyle Group, the Washington DC-headquartered private equity firm, has agreed to acquire Gakusei Engokai, a publisher of job placement magazines, from its founding family for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to close by the end of next month.

Gakusei Engokai distributes its magazines under the brand names An, DODA, Salida and Arbeit Times to more than 100,000 locations throughout Japan. The firm also provides information to job seekers via the Internet and mobile phones and has a complementary staffing agency.

Gakusei Engokai is one half of an effective ‘duopoly’ in its sector, with the largest share of the part-time job information market and the second-largest share of overall employment information behind Recruit Co. The two firms are by far the biggest in the sector, which is also populated by a plethora of very small operations.

By injecting our capital and enhancing corporate governance, the company will be able to pursue an IPO

Tamotsu Adachi, managing director, Carlyle Group

In a statement, Carlyle managing director and head of Japan Tamotsu Adachi said: “By injecting our capital and enhancing corporate governance, the company will be able to pursue an IPO, which has been the goal of management and its employees for some time now.”

The investment will become Carlyle’s seventh buyout in Japan and is also its second deal announcement in the country within a week. Earlier this week, it announced the acquisition of the capsule making subsidiary of drug maker Shionogi & Co for an undisclosed sum.

A spokesperson for Carlyle told PEO the rapid deal double was no coincidence: “Up until recently, private equity firms had a bad image in Japan, but now the corner is very much being turned and it’s the place to be.” The source pointed out that a more positive attitude was being observed as a result of the country’s “fragile recovery” and that deals are now arising from previously untapped sources. The Shionogi deal for example was the first sale of a non-core business to a private equity firm by a Japanese pharmaceuticals group.