TOKYO -- Private-equity fund Longreach Group will buy out Primo Japan, a jewelry store operator, for an estimated 20 billion yen ($167 million), in the hope of opening new outlets in China and other growing Asian markets.
Primo Japan currently runs a network of 76 stores in Japan and 12 overseas shops in such markets as Taiwan and Hong Kong. Group sales came to 15.7 billion yen in the year ended September 2014.
Tokyo-based Longreach will acquire Primo shares from a Hong Kong investment fund, with plans to dispatch a majority of board members. Its post-buyout strategy includes expansion into mainland China, where a solid middle class is growing. At home, it plans to open three or four new stores a year, primarily in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The investment fund will aim to eventually take the jeweler public.
Established in 2003, Longreach has in the past acquired a logistics firm affiliated with the now-defunct Sanyo Electric and a Hitachi subsidiary in the printed-circuit-board business.