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Business Deals

Bain successfully closes offer for Japanese ad agency Asatsu-DK

Holders of nearly 90% of shares in anime, ad provider agree to sell

A man walks past the signboard of Asatsu-DK. (Photo by Tomoki Mera)

TOKYO -- A tender offer by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital for Japanese advertising agency Asatsu-DK was completed successfully by the end of offer period Wednesday, Bain said Thursday. Holders of 87.05% of Asatsu-DK's outstanding shares agreed to sell their stakes, including the largest shareholder, U.K. media ground WPP.

ADK is expected to hold a shareholders meeting to pass a resolution to delist its shares.

ADK will likely work with Bain on developing its growth strategy by focusing on its business in popular anime content -- including the Doraemon series about a robotic cat -- as well as digital advertisements. Bain will seek to re-list ADK's shares in several years.

WPP, meanwhile, said it hopes to collaborate with the Bain-ADK team, despite ending its capital partnership. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games approaching, WPP is taking a particular interest in Japan, one of the world's largest advertising markets.

Initially, WPP and ADK's second-largest shareholder, Silchester International Investors, were cool to Bain's offer as being too low. But after WPP accepted the deal on Nov. 21, the focus shifted to how the rest of ADK shareholders would react.


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