Japanese PE Unison Capital acquires udon noodles restaurant chain Sukesan

Sukesan Udon noodle (Source: Internet Archive)

Japan-based private equity firm Unison Capital has acquired udon noodles restaurant operator Sukesan Co., Ltd which operates 42 restaurants under the “Sukesan Udon” brand.

The acquisition was made through Unison’s two funds, Unison Capital Partners IV, LPS and Unison Capital Partners IV(F), L.P, according to an announcement. The transaction’s value, however, was not disclosed.

“Through leveraging Unison’s expertise and network accumulated from extensive experience investing in the restaurant sector, Unison aims to accelerate the growth of Sukesan through new store openings, mainly in the wider Kyushu region in Japan,” the statement said.

Last year, Unison acquired Japanese style bar and restaurant chain DINAMIX which has about 30 brands under management. The PE firm earlier made similar flagship transactions in the F&B space, including Akindo Sushiro, a sushi restaurant chain which was sold for about $1 billion to European PE firm Permira in 2012.

Unison also invested in LTL Pharma Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Japan Established Medicine Corporation, which supplies off-patent and long listed products.

Establish in 1998, Unison Capital has managed five funds to-date, totalling $3.6 billion in commitments. Of these, Unison Capital Partners IV, a 70 billion yen (about $631 million) fund was closed in 2015 and Unison Capital Partners IV (F), which targeted 60 billion yen ($581 million), in 2014.

These funds pursue buyout opportunities that promote the growth of small and mid-cap Japanese companies, including ownership successions, management buyouts, and spin-offs from large corporations, Unison stated in an announcement.

Sukesan operates the noodles restaurant brand as a local speciality, mainly in Kitakyushu City of Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan. Since its first restaurant opened in 1976, Sukesan’s store footprint has grown steadily.

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