February 20, 2014 12:00 am JST

The private equity tango: it takes two to profit

KOICHI SAKAI, Managing editor, Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO -- In the U.S. and Europe, investment funds are known for making big splashes. In insular Japan they are lucky to make a few ripples. Here, it's the midsize business that is the more likely target for these amply capitalized partners.

     Right now, a number of little-known Japanese companies that have been placed under the umbrella of one foreign fund or another are performing better than their big-name brethren.

     Why is it that executives of some struggling medium-size enterprises are willing to partner with unknown profiteers from across oceans? And what are these businesses getting out of the relationships? Four companies help to answer these questions.