Bain, CVC, KKR, Permira Bid on Bellsystem24

TOKYO (Reuters) – Permira, KKR and CVC Capital are among the private equity firms bidding for Bellsystem24, Citigroup’s (C.N) telemarketing company in Japan, three sources said, in a deal that could fetch more than $1 billion.

Bain Capital and trading house Itochu Corp (8001.T) have also submitted bids, said the sources, asking not to be identified because the process is not public.

The Bellsystem24 deal would be the largest transaction in Japan involving foreign private equity firms since October 2007, when Permira agreed to buy agrichemical company Arysta LifeScience Corp for $2.2 billion.

The first bid closed at noon on Tuesday, the sources said, adding that all the parties are bidding for the Japanese telemarketer independently at this stage.

Bellsystem24 is owned by Nikko Principal Investments, the private-equity arm of Citigroup.

Nikko Citigroup, the Japanese investment banking arm of Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) are advising Citi on the sale, other sources have said.

Bellsystem24, which operates call centres, competes with Moshi Moshi Hotline Inc (4708.T) and Transcosmos Inc (9715.T) in telemarketing in Japan.

By Junko Fujita
(Additional reporting by Emi Emoto and Wakako Sato; Editing by Hugh Lawson)