Bain Capital to buy Skylark for $2.1 billion

TOKYO Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:03am EDT

A man walks past a signboard of the Japanese restaurant chain Skylark in Tokyo June 8, 2006. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

A man walks past a signboard of the Japanese restaurant chain Skylark in Tokyo June 8, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

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TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital said it agreed to buy restaurant chain Skylark from Nomura Holdings (8604.T) and other investors for $2.1 billion in equity, marking the largest buyout by a private equity firm in Japan since the financial crisis.

Bain and Nomura began talks on Skylark last year but negotiations were put on hold after Japan's massive March earthquake. They were delayed again in August after an outbreak of dysentery traced to outlets of Skylark's Gusto restaurant chain.

Sources had told Reuters earlier this month that Bain was close to finalizing the deal for about 260 billion yen ($3.4 billion), including debt. Bain only disclosed the equity portion of the transaction.

Nomura Principal, the private equity unit of Nomura, originally invested in Skylark in 2006 through a management buyout with UK private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

CVC gave a stake to a private equity fund owned by Chuo Mitsui Trust Holdings in 2009 in return for not having to pay back loans made to purchase the stake.

Nomura said on Friday it sold its holdings in Skylark for 128 billion yen in common and preferred shares.

Mizuho Corporate Bank, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Morgan Stanley, Nomura Capital Investment and Shinsei Bank are among the banks which agreed to provide financing for Bain's purchase of Skylark, Bain Capital said. ($1 = 76.870 Japanese Yen)

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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