Blackstone to buy drug maker in maiden Japan PE deal

FILE PHOTO: The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

TOKYO (Reuters) - Blackstone Group said on Friday it had agreed to buy Japanese drug maker Ayumi Pharmaceutical Corp, a deal one person said was worth around $1 billion.

The deal marks the first one in Japan by the U.S. private equity (PE) firm after it set up a local team in 2017 to broaden its focus beyond property transactions.

Blackstone will acquire the maker of anti-rheumatism drugs from PE firm Unison Capital and medical information site business M3, Blackstone said in a statement.

It did not provide any details on the deal value.

It will pay around $1 billion for Ayumi, including debt, a person familiar with the deal said, declining to be identified because the information has not been made public.

“We look forward to working with the company to leverage Blackstone’s global footprint and expertise in this sector to help Ayumi meet the growing need for its RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and orthopedic products,” Atsuhiko Sakamoto, head of Blackstone’s PE business in Japan, said in a statement.

Blackstone last year raised about $2.3 billion for its first Asia-focused PE fund.

Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by David Dolan and Himani Sarkar