TOKYO (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs will sell its $446 million stake in Accordia Golf, exiting from its investment in the Japanese golf course operator that it took public in 2006.
Accordia said in a statement on Thursday that Goldman would sell to the public its 44.7 percent stake, which would be worth 37 billion yen ($446 million) at the current market price.
Goldman bought a string of golf courses in Japan following the burst of the country’s economic bubble in the early 1990s, when many golf courses went bust after real estate prices collapsed.
U.S. private equity fund Lone Star was another aggressive buyer of Japanese golf courses and formed Pacific Golf Group International, which also operates golf courses in Japan.
Goldman and Lone Star made profits by taking their golf course management companies public, but both Accordia and Pacific Golf have struggled to boost their stock prices as Japan’s economic slowdown discouraged golfers from playing.
Accordia shares closed at 78,900 yen on Thursday, 60 percent lower than the historical high they marked after making their market debut in November 2006.
Still, they have been regaining some momentum recently, having risen 14.5 percent since hitting last year’s low in October.
Pacific Golf shares closed at 55,000 yen on Thursday, far below their historical high of 301,000 yen marked in January 2006.
Daiwa Securities Capital Markets and Goldman Sachs are handling the sale of Accordia shares, Accordia said.
Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Chris Gallagher