KKR Japan Panasonic

KKR's Kravis says Japanese groups 'fired up'

Buyout veteran says competition from South Korean and Chinese competitors is galvanizing Japanese companies into action.
“I’ve been going to Japan at least once a year since 1978 and every year was the same. They are so fired up right now,” says Kravis.
“I’ve been going to Japan at least once a year since 1978 and every year was the same. They are so fired up right now,” says Kravis.

Henry Kravis, KKR’s co-founder, said on Monday that he believes competition from South Korean and Chinese competitors is galvanizing Japanese companies into action and that means potentially more deals for private equity in the world’s third-biggest economy.

The US private equity group is trying to convince Japan’s conglomerates to sell it their non-core businesses and to join forces on overseas acquisitions. KKR is in talks to buy Panasonic's healthcare business, although a KKR spokesman declined to comment.

“We’re seeing more signs that companies do want to do the things that are necessary to reposition themselves to be much more competitive,” said the 69-year-old pioneer of leveraged...

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