Ant Capital passes 80% mark for latest fundraise – exclusive

The Tokyo-based private equity firm is nearing the 30bn yen hard-cap for its latest secondaries programme, according to a managing partner at the firm.

Ant Capital Partners, the Japanese private equity firm, has raised over 80 percent of its two latest secondaries funds and is looking to hold a final close in December, according to the firm.

Tokyo-based Ant Capital has raised 25 billion yen ($209 million; €186 million) for the funds, Ant Bridge 4-A Private Equity Secondary Investment Fund and Ant Bridge 4-B Private Equity Secondary Investment Fund, which are targeting a combined 30 billion yen, according to Takao Akaogi, managing partner at Ant Capital.

“We’ve held several interim closes,” Akaogi told Secondaries Investor.

Bridge 4-A is a direct secondaries vehicle which was launched in August last year and has a 20 billion yen hard-cap. Bridge 4-B, which was launched in December 2014, targets secondaries stakes on the Japanese and foreign markets and has a hard-cap of 10 billion yen. 4-B is just less than 20 percent invested, Akaogi said.

4-B acquires secondaries fund stakes in a roughly even split between domestic and foreign funds, Akaogi said. Investors in the funds are Japanese institutional investors such as regional banks and corporate pensions.

Ant Capital’s secondaries operations are about 70 percent allocated to direct secondaries, with the remaining 30 percent to acquiring limited partner fund stakes. The Japanese market is more suitable for direct secondaries due to the many family-run are-to-medium-sized businesses, in which minority interests were easier to acquire, Akaogi said.

For buyers of limited partner stakes, small-scale non-corporate pension funds are starting to provide deal flow opportunities in Japan, he said. Japan’s industry and regional pension funds, which number around 500, have seen a spate of incidents involving board directors misappropriating funds or the pension funds themselves being the target of deception by asset management firms, and this is leading some of them to being dissolved, he said.

“There are quite a few small-scale pension funds that have invested in private equity funds,” Akaogi said, adding that about 1 percent of public welfare pension funds’ 18 trillion yen was invested in private equity.

“Those pension funds are now going to seek liquidity for those assets,” he said.

Established in 2000, Ant Capital Partners invests in primaries and secondaries and is headquartered in Tokyo. The firm has raised eight dedicated secondaries vehicles since 2003, according to PEI’s Research & Analytics division.