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Under Bain, Japan's Asatsu-DK hopes to make up for lost time

Ad agency fell behind in digitization and globalization under prior tie-up

Asatsu-DK hopes working under Bain Capital will help it make up for two underwhelming decades with WPP.

TOKYO -- Japan's No. 3 ad agency, Asatsu-DK, is set to be bought out by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital, offering it a chance to play catch-up in the digitization and globalization that has swept the ad industry while it was in a fruitless, two-decade partnership with Britain's WPP.

Bain has acquired an 87.05% stake in Tokyo-based ADK through a successful tender offer, the companies said Thursday. The offer, announced Oct. 2, faced opposition at first from the top two stakeholders: WPP, with 25%, and asset management firm Silchester Institutional Investors. But WPP reversed course and on Nov. 21 reached an agreement with Bain to sell. ADK is expected to delist by next spring following an extraordinary shareholders meeting.

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