PE giant Carlyle holds first close of fourth Japan buyout fund

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Carlyle Group is displayed at the company's office in Tokyo, Japan October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Alternative investment giant Carlyle Group has reached the first close for its latest Japan buyout fund, the firm disclosed in its Q3 earnings statement.

Carlyle did not state how much it has raised so far for the Japan fund — its fourth to date — but noted that its total private equity fundraising in the third quarter totalled $1.9 billion.

The $222-billion investor started fundraising for Carlyle Japan Partners Fund IV in July 2019, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. While its filing said it was raising an indefinite amount for the fund, Bloomberg had reported that Carlyle was seeking 200 billion yen ($1.85 billion) for its Fund IV.

Its predecessor was launched in 2013 and raised 119.5 billion yen, exceeding an initial target of 100 billion yen. The third fund invested in 10 companies, including Orion Breweries, coated abrasive manufacturer Sankyo Rikagaku and cosmetics contract manufacturer Tokiwa Corporation this year.

Carlyle Japan Partners Fund II was a 165.6 billion yen fund and currently has carburettors manufacturer Walbro as its last portfolio company, while the first in the series had raised 50 billion yen and is now fully exited.

Carlyle’s Japan buyout team is led by Kazuhiro Yamada, a managing director joining the firm in 2001.

Last month, the PE firm also announced the completion of fundraising for its largest European fund at 6.4 billion euros ($7.14 billion), which was almost 1 billion euros bigger than an initial target. Earlier this year, the firm gathered 1.35 billion euros for its fourth global tech fund in three months in a fundraising record.

In Asia, Carlyle manages five Asia buyout funds totalling $15.55 billion and two China funds. It also has five vehicles in the Asia Growth series. The group’s assets under management (AUM) for Asia buyouts reached $12.2 billion in the third quarter.

It recently poached John Kim from Goldman Sachs to be a managing director of its Asia Buyout team and lead Carlyle’s investment activities in Korea, effective from March 2020.

Japan is also a high priority for other buyout majors. KKR & Co recently told the FT that Japan was its “highest priority” in the world outside the US. Preparing to launch its next – and largest – Asia vehicle as part of a $100-billion fundraising plan, KKR recently appointed Japan CEO Hiro Hirano to co-lead its PE business in the Asia Pacific.

Meanwhile, Bain Capital is said to be planning its first Japan fund, according to Bloomberg. Japanese PE firms are also expected to set up funds worth $5.5 billion over the next few years, the Nikkei Asia Review reported.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.