Banks are unwilling to underwrite
Bain Capital is in exclusive talks to buy the restaurant chain from Nomura Holdings Inc. in what would have been one of the largest private equity purchases of a Japanese company. The firm was aiming to reach an agreement by the end of the March.
“The chances of getting this deal underwritten are minimal in the short-term—to get a firm underwriting in the next few weeks will be very difficult,” a London-based loan syndicate head said.
Skylark’s sale could be impacted by the earthquake as the company has closed restaurant outlets and is experiencing difficulties with its food supply chain, he added.
As for Takefuji,
“Considering the impact of the latest earthquake, we have decided to delay the deadline,” Takefuji said in a March 18 statement.
Takefuji failed in September, owing 433 billion yen ($5.5 billion) after its profitability was squeezed by a 2006 court ruling forcing it and other consumer lenders to repay overcharged interest and a government cap on lending rates. This is the second time that the deadline has been moved back. The earlier deadline of March 10 was delayed because Takefuji’s court-appointed administrator wanted to give more time to bidders to gauge the lender’s value.
A slew of deals in Asia are in danger of being delayed or cancelled as investors turn jittery after Japan’s deadly earthquake and nuclear crisis.
Tessa Walsh and Junko Fujita are Reuters correspondents in London and Tokyo, respectively.