KKR to buy Calsonic in $4.5bn deal

BY Richard Summerfield

Private equity firm KKR & Co has agreed to acquire auto parts maker Calsonic Kansei Corp from the company’s majority shareholder Nissan, for around $4.5bn. The deal represents KKR’s biggest ever deal in Japan.

According to a statement announcing the deal, KKR will pay 1860 yen per Calsonic share held - a 28.3 percent premium over the company’s closing price on Tuesday, the day before the deal was announced. The firm beat competition from a number of other rival private equity firms, including Bain Capital and MBK Partners.

Calsonic’s main customer is Nissan, Japan’s second largest car maker, which accounts for 85 percent of its business. However, the company also supplies parts to a number of other car manufacturers including Renault, Isuzu, Daimler and General Motors.

Yasuhiro Yamauchi, chief competitive officer of Nissan, said in a statement: "This agreement was reached because we share common interests and goals. Nissan is hoping to further increase the competitiveness of Calsonic Kansei – one of our most important partners – and KKR recognises the company's potential. This is also the best choice for Calsonic Kansei and its shareholders."

The acquisition of Calsonic will come from KKR Asian Fund II. The firm has been active in Japan through its pan-regional private equity funds since 2010. Though the country has been a key market for KKR, the deal for Calsonic is a rare one in Japan. Multibillion dollar deals in Japan have been hard to come by in recent years; many Japanese companies often unwilling to divest their units through drastic restructuring.

Once the deal for Calsonic is complete, it will become the fourth KKR owned firm operating in Japan. The firm has previously acquired human resources services company Intelligence Ltd, Pioneer DJ, the DJ equipment business which Pioneer Corporation divested in early 2015, and Panasonic Healthcare, which was carved-out of the Panasonic Corporation for $1.67bn in 2013.

Hiro Hirano, a member of KKR and CEO of KKR Japan, said: "Calsonic Kansei is a best-in-class auto-parts manufacturer that supplies high-quality products to the world's largest automotive brands. As a partner to Calsonic Kansei's management team, we aim to assist the company in achieving its growth ambitions and make available our international network and industry expertise to continue Calsonic Kansei's success globally."

News: KKR to buy Nissan-backed supplier Calsonic for up to $4.5 billion

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