Baring PE Asia to invest $904m in Japan’s audio systems maker Pioneer

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Japanese audio systems maker Pioneer Corp said on Friday buyout firm Baring Private Equity Asia has agreed to invest 102 billion yen ($904 million) in the company to restore its financial health, the first major private equity investment in Japan this year.

Pioneer will issue new shares worth 77 billion yen to Baring, and the private equity firm will buy 25 billion yen worth of shares from existing shareholders, Pioneer said in a statement.

Baring will own 80.27 percent of the company after the transaction completes, Pioneer said.

After selling its consumer electronics business in 2014, Pioneer focused mostly on car navigation systems, a technology rendered largely obsolete thanks to maps available on smartphones.

Development costs for advanced navigation systems have soared as companies including Panasonic Corp and Bosch Ltd have poured money into next-generation cockpits for cars that make driving safer and luxurious, edging out cash-strapped companies like Pioneer.