Apollo hires Bain executive to launch Japan business-sources

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TOKYO/HONG KONG, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Private equity firm Apollo Global Management has hired a former executive from rival Bain Capital to head its operations in Tokyo, becoming the latest global fund to set up shop in Japan, five people with knowledge of the matter said.

Apollo has hired Tetsuji Okamoto, a managing director at Bain Capital, who will start his new role later this month, said one of the people, who all asked not to be identified because the information is still private.

The firm is planning to hire more staff for its Japan team to explore corporate carve-outs and deals with small and mid-sized companies, as the country is one of its target markets in Asia, the person added.

Okamoto was mainly responsible for debt financing at Bain Capital, said another.

Representatives for Apollo and Bain Capital declined to comment.

The move by Apollo comes after Blackstone Group last year built up its corporate buyout team in Tokyo. Other global private equity firms, such as KKR & Co and Carlyle Group , have been eyeing opportunities in Japan where large companies are expected to spin off non-core businesses to focus on areas with growth potential.

Japanese firms are under pressure to resolve potential conflicts of interest between publicly traded parent companies and listed subsidiaries, which could prompt some companies to sell their listed units.

Japanese conglomerate Hitachi Ltd is in the process of selling its chemical unit Hitachi Chemical Co, which has a market value of 848 billion yen ($7.8 billion).

However the number of multi-billion-dollar deals has so far still been limited to a few in a year in Japan.

Blackstone bought drug maker Ayumi Pharmaceutical Corp in a deal worth around $1 billion in March this year, its first non-property deal in Japan.

MBK Partners in February bought Belgian chocolate maker Godiva Chocolatier’s operations in Japan, South Korea and Australia in a deal worth between $1 billion and $1.5 billion. .

$1 = 108.6400 yen
Reporting by Junko Fujita in Tokyo and Kane Wu in Hong Kong;
editing by Richard Pullin

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