KKR nears first Japanese buyout

The firm has been selected as the preferred bidder for recruitment company Intelligence in a deal worth about $350m.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the global private equity and asset management firm, is close to inking its first buyout transaction in Japan. The firm has been selected as the preferred bidder for Intelligence, the recruitment services unit of Usen Corp, a Japanese media content provider, a source confirmed. 

Intelligence is priced at about ¥32 billion ($350 million; €286.7 million), the source said, confirming a report which first appeared in Japanese daily Nikkei. Industry chatter around the deal has focused on EBIDTA multiples paid, which have been estimated in the double digits.

KKR outbid other private equity firms such as The Carlyle Group and Advantage Partners for the deal, the daily reported. KKR declined to comment. Advantage Partners and Carlyle did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

The deal, if completed, will mark KKR’s first buyout in Japan and second transaction overall. The firm, which opened an office in the country in 2006, acquired a minority stake in Orient Corporation, a Japanese consumer credit company, for $167.4 million in May 2007. 

Intelligence is a human resources services company that provides integrated recruitment consulting services, temporary employment classified ad information services and maintains a careers website for full time career service offerings. 

Its parent company Usen provides music broadcasting services and karaoke services. It is also an internet service provider and is engaged in the development and sale of business management systems for hotels and the production and publishing of free tabloids.