Japan-based Ant Capital execs to form independent secondaries unit

The new entity – Bee Alternatives – plans to raise approximately $280m across two feeder funds, one managed by the firm and another by Ant Capital.

A trio of executives from Ant Capital Partners, one of the few Japan-headquartered firms involved in secondaries, plans to spin out its secondaries unit.

The new company – Bee Alternatives – will start operating as an independent entity upon the first close of its new fund, which is expected by early August, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Bee Alternatives will be led by Ant Capital partner Fumiki Otokuni, and principals Atsuhiko Inoguchi and Yuliang Chen. The three will relocate to Malaysia where Bee Alternatives is to be headquartered, once travel restrictions allow.

The firm will have a fund counselling agreement to oversee Ant Capital’s existing secondaries vehicles, the 2015-vintage Bridge No.4-B and 2018-vintage Bridge No.5-B. The two vehicles represent around ¥24.8 billion ($224 million; €188 million) of assets under management and are active both in LP interests and fund restructurings.

Ant’s direct secondaries funds, Ant Bridge No.4-A and Ant Bridge No.5-A, will remain under its control.

Bee’s new vehicle – Bridge 6 Bee Secondary – will comprise two feeder funds, one managed by the firm and another by Ant Capital. Bee will target more than $100 million from overseas investors and its own management team, while Ant’s fund will seek up to ¥20 billion from domestic investors.

Like its predecessors, Bridge 6 Bee Secondary will also pursue LP interests and GP restructurings, with about 50 percent of its capital to be deployed in Asia. Its first close will only include existing Bridge LPs, which are solely Japanese, Secondaries Investor reported in 2019.

Bee Alternatives is not the first Ant Capital unit to become independent, with Taiwanese direct secondaries firm AB Value Capital Partners having spun out in 2015. The firm took over management of two funds and raised one of its own in 2018, Secondaries Investor reported at the time.

Ant Capital is perhaps best known in Japan as a small and mid-market buyout firm. It has about $800 million-worth of active AUM and is seeking ¥50 billion for Ant Catalyzer No.6 Private Equity Investment, which launched in January, affiliate title Private Equity International reported in March.

Ant was founded in 2000 as antfactory Japan, a joint venture between Nikko Principal Investments Japan and UK venture capital firm antfactory. It took on its current identity in 2008.

A spokesperson for Ant Capital confirmed the spin-out plans but declined to comment on specifics.