UPDATE 1-Japan private equity to sell Kracie stake-source

TOKYO, June 23 Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:40am BST

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TOKYO, June 23 (Reuters) - Japanese private equity firms Advantage Partners, Unison Capital and MKS Partners will sell a 60 percent stake in Kracie Holdings to hair-colouring products maker Hoyu Co, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The Nikkei business daily estimated the deal would be worth about 25 billion yen ($261 million), including debt.

Kracie is a maker of food, toiletries and drugs spun off from Kanebo, a cosmetics and household goods giant that was delisted due to accounting fraud and then acquired by a state-backed bailout firm in 2004.

Advantage Partners, Unison Capital and MKS Partners bought a 100 percent stake in Kracie for about 43 billion yen from the bailout firm in 2006.

The funds, through an investment vehicle called Trinity Investment Co, plan to hold on to 40 percent of Kracie, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been made public.

A spokesman for Trinity nothing has been decided.

Kao Corp (4452.T), Japan's largest maker of toiletries, bought Kanebo's cosmetics division.

Of the three private equity firms, MKS Partners has been hit by the financial crisis, prompting it to stop new investments and focus on selling its portfolio, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters in November. [ID:nT240231] (Additional reporting by Nathan Layne)