UPDATE 3-Japan's USJ may go private with Goldman help-sources

martes 13 de enero de 2009 10:54 CET
 

(Adds data on private equity acquisitions, updates market value)

By Wakako Sato and Emi Emoto

TOKYO Jan 13 (Reuters) - USJ Co Ltd 2142.T, which operates a Universal Studios theme park in Japan, may go private in a buyout led by Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Cotización), five people familiar with the matter said.

Goldman is looking for investors to join a bid for the Osaka-based company, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deal has not been completed.

Shares in USJ jumped 11.5 percent to 38,650 yen on Tuesday, rising by their limit after Reuters and its Basis Point loan service reported the move. The gain pushed up the company's market value to 83.7 billion yen ($936 million).

USJ, which listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in March 2007, includes rides themed on Peter Pan's Neverland and the movies "Back to the Future" and "Jurassic Park".

Spokesman Johta Takahashi said USJ had not made any decision to go private.

Going private allows companies to restructure their operations under the guidance of like-minded shareholders and without the short-term pressures that come with being listed on the stock market.

But the deal could hinge on whether Goldman can successfully find co-investors at a time when private equity firms are struggling to raise funds amid the global credit crunch.   Continuación...