(Bloomberg) -- Private equity firms including Bain Capital and Blackstone Inc. are considering bids for Japanese pharmacy chain Tsuruha Holdings Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
KKR & Co. is also among those that have expressed interest for the Tokyo-listed company, which has a market value of about $4.1 billion, the people said. Deliberations are ongoing and the buyout firms could still decide against proceeding with offers, the people said.
Representatives for Bain, Blackstone, KKR and Tsuruha declined to comment.
Tsuruha, the second-largest drug store chain in Japan in terms of market share, has been working with an adviser as it explores a sale, people familiar with the matter have said. The company said in a filing later that it has been continuously considering various measures to improve its cooperate value.
Shares in Tsuruha have jumped about 11% since the Bloomberg News report on Nov. 15.
Tracing its roots to 1929, Tsuruha has almost 2,600 stores with another 18 overseas, its latest investor presentation shows. It aims to grow its network to 2,750 stores with revenue hitting ¥1.06 trillion ($7.4 billion) by May 2025, according to its medium-term management plan.
Oasis Management, which owns a 12.8% stake in Tsuruha, has said the drug store chain is in “disproportionate control” in the hands of the delegates from the three founding families, harming its ability in evaluating consolidation opportunities. Oasis Chief Investment Officer Seth Fischer said a day after the Bloomberg News report that he wouldn’t mind if Tsuruha was taken private. As long as the company improves its corporate value and governance, it doesn’t matter if it stays public or goes private, he said.
Japanese corporates have become more responsive to activist investor demand as bourse operator Japan Exchange Group Inc. said it will prod companies that trade below book values to disclose plans to boost their share price. Global investors, including Warren Buffett, are paying more attention to the country’s businesses, making Japan one of the world’s best-performing stock markets.
Read More: Hedge Funds Pushing for Japan Returns Get Help From Tokyo Bourse
Fuji Soft Inc., a provider of software and information technology services for Japan’s government, banks and other companies, last month unveiled buyout offers for four of its Tokyo-listed subsidiaries. 3D Investment Partners Pte, Fuji Soft’s biggest investor with a 21.5% stake, has been pushing the company to either buy or dispose of its listed units because they are undervalued.
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