Bain Capital acquires Japanese ad agency ADK

Tyrone Stewart
Shinichi Ueno
ADK Group president and CEO Shinichi Ueno

Private equity firm Bain Capital has finally acquired a majority stake in Asatsu-DK (ADK), Japan’s third largest advertising agency, after a long battle with ADK’s largest shareholder, WPP. As a result of a tender offer, Bain picked up an 87.05 per cent in ADK.

The deal will see Bain and ADK invest in areas including digital, data, and the content business, as they look to adapt to an evolving ad market both in Japan and abroad. Furthermore, ADK will adopt an open network model enabling to affiliate with the most appropriate partners in each business area.

“Today’s successful tender offer marks an important step in the right direction for ADK as we move closer to privatising the business in order to better secure its future in a fast-changing market,” said Yuji Sugimoto, managing director at Bain Capital. “This is also a very positive outcome for ADK’s shareholders, who have been able to realise attractive value through our fully priced offer.

“We look forward to working closely with ADK’s management over the coming months to accelerate its transformation efforts while we continue to work towards the end goal of privatising the business so it can realise its full potential more quickly.”

The world’s biggest advertising group, WPP, owned a 25 per cent stake in ADK and had previously attempted to block Bain’s tender offer, but changed its tune last month when it agreed to discussions.