4th JPEA Awards (FY2017) | JPEA
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4th JPEA Awards (FY2017)

Winning deals

Prize for Initiative in Value-Added Agriculture

Prize Prize for Initiative in Value-Added Agriculture
Recognized Deal/Company Misuzu Life Co., Ltd.
Fund iSigma Capital Corporation
Reason for selection Food self-sufficiency is a national issue for Japan, yet the many constraints on forming agricultural companies mean that creating an agribusiness is not easy. Regulatory requirements for corporations qualified to own farmland are particularly limiting. This deal funded the establishment of a corporation to separate only the brown beech mushrooms production business so as not to own the farmland. The deal also sought to expand sales channels, with support from sponsor Marubeni.

Another noteworthy aspect of the deal, in terms of creating local business, is that it made a circular agricultural business by using the soil that produced the mushrooms as compost for cultivating vegetables.

Prize for Business Succession with Heaven Watching

Prize Prize for Business Succession with Heaven Watching
Recognized Deal/Company Newokubo CO., LTD.
Fund Ant Capital Partners Co., Ltd.
Reason for selection Even though many companies in Japan are in need of business succession, there are more than a few deals that PE funds will not touch because the size or nature of the business does not fit.

Despite these circumstances, this deal quickly settled the confusion and uncertainty within and outside the company upon the president's sudden death. After providing funding, Ant Capital Partners is now turning this company that was dominated by its owner's presence into an organization capable of sustainable business development.

It's easy to talk about increasing value, but the work of getting involved with an organization and changing the culture on the ground is accompanied by much toil. Ant Capital Partners representatives have been very impressive in boosting the image of the entire PE fund industry with their sincere and courteous approach to the company's employees. For the many Japanese SMEs considering how to pass on their business, the deal shows that transferring their business to a PE fund is one option to seriously consider.

We hope the deal will further raise Newokubo's enterprise value and reassure the previous owner who is watching down from heaven.

Prize for Happiness by Raising ES

Prize Prize for Happiness by Raising ES
Recognized Deal/Company Riraku Co., Ltd.
Fund Advantage Partners Inc.
Reason for selection This deal was a growth investment in Riraku, a company founded to provide people with comfort and relaxation, enabling them to lead a fun, enriched life every day, thanks to a healthy body and mind.

Investee company Riraku has grown into an excellent firm, both qualitatively and quantitatively, thanks to the measures unique to the fund that raised enterprise value. Four years after the investment was made, the company was transferred to its founder. This arrangement achieved a happy result for all stakeholders.

In particular, the improvement in corporate value, both in terms of quality and quantity, achieved by creating an enjoyable environment for therapists in direct contact with customers and focusing on improving worker satisfaction, and the employment of therapists who can lead diverse lifestyles through flexible working hours, are highly regarded as a model for reforming the way people work.
In addition to hiring more therapists providing comfort and relaxation, the investment has social importance in supporting the healthier and more enriched lifestyles of people.

Prize for Global Transformation

Prize Prize for Global Transformation
Recognized Deal/Company TSUBAKI NAKASHIMA Co., Ltd.
Fund Carlyle Japan LLC
Reason for selection During the acquisition stage in 2011, 65% of TSUBAKI NAKASHIMA's sales originated in Japan and the other 35% from overseas. However, an expansion to its location in China and the addition of a new one in India helped institute a massive transformation that raised overseas sales to 80% of the total at the time the Carlyle Group completed its exit at the end of 2017. Many of the directors, including the Indian CFO, are now non-Japanese, thus turning TSUBAKI NAKASHIMA into a truly global company. Japan faces a falling birthrate and an aging population. Opening up foreign markets has thus become extremely important for Japanese companies if they are to continue growing. This deal serves as a good example of a PE fund transforming its investee into a global company.

Selection Panel


Toshiko Oka
Representative Director
Oka & Company, Inc.


Takeshi Kadota
Kadota &Co


Keiji Mogi
The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners Co., Ltd.


Tomonori Ito
Hitotsubashi University Business School