KKR Buying Intelligence Ltd for $356 Million

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co said on Friday it would buy Intelligence Ltd, a unit of cable broadcaster Usen Corp (4842.OJ), for 32.5 billion yen ($357 million), making it the private equity giant’s first significant deal in Japan.

The deal is also only the second investment in Japan by KKR, which was founded in 1976 and opened an office in Tokyo in 2006. It made a minority investment in leasing company Orient Corp (8585.T) in 2007.

The firm, which has $54.7 billion in assets under management, has looked at other Japanese assets such as the sale of telemarketer Bellsystem24 by Citigroup Inc (C.N), but did not pull the trigger on a significant transaction.

Intelligence, which was established in 1989, offers permanent job placement services, temporary staffing and outsourcing, and job search advertising.

The company, whose brands include “DODA” and “an”, holds the second-largest share in Japan‘s permanent job placement as well as job search advertising markets, KKR said.

“As one of the few recruitment services firms in Japan providing such a comprehensive offering, the company is well positioned to take advantage of an anticipated upturn in economic activity,” said Shusaku Minoda, chief executive of KKR’s Japan operations.

KKR entered into exclusive talks to buy the business from Usen last week, beating out rivals Advantage Partners and Carlyle Group [CYL.UL], which had also been shortlisted as bidders for the business, a source previously told Reuters.

Tokyo-based Usen, established in 1964, has been selling a series of assets as part of its restructuring efforts, according to Reuters Loan Pricing Corp.

In September 2008, Intelligence became a wholly owned Usen unit through stock swap and was delisted, the RLPC said.

The parties expect to complete the acquisition at the end of July.

KKR, led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, has investments in companies such as retailer Dollar General Corp (DG.N), hospital operator HCA and media company Nielsen. (Reporting by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Richard Chang)