Bloomberg News

TPG Capital Said to Consider Investing $1 Billion in Olympus

January 16, 2012

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- TPG Capital, the private-equity firm run by David Bonderman, is considering an investment in Olympus Corp., the Japanese camera maker that admitted to a $1.7 billion cover-up of losses, according to a person familiar with the matter.

TPG is weighing whether to join with a strategic partner to invest as much as $1 billion in the Tokyo-based firm, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. While Fort Worth, Texas-based TPG has spoken to potential partners, it’s not clear whether they will pursue a deal, the person said.

Olympus, which is also the world’s largest endoscope maker, restated more than five years of earnings on Dec. 14 after admitting it inflated fees to advisers for the $2.1 billion acquisition of Gyrus Group Plc in 2008 and overpaying for three Japanese companies. This month, the company sued 19 current and former officials, including former Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikuwaka, over a $1.7 billion accounting fraud.

Olympus plunged 59 percent last year as news of the cover- up emerged, making the stock the the fifth-worst performer on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average. The firm’s shares fell 2.7 percent to close at 1,236 yen ($16.06) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange today.

A committee formed by Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC said today that it hasn’t found any problems so far with an auditor’s examination of accounts at the company. The findings aren’t final and the review is continuing, the company said at a press conference in Tokyo.

American Airlines

Owen Blicksilver, a spokesman for TPG, said he couldn’t comment on the company’s plans, which were reported earlier by Reuters.

The firm is also looking at the possibility of investing in AMR Corp., the bankrupt parent of American Airlines, people familiar with the company said Jan. 12. Bonderman, 69, who co- founded TPG in 1992, is also chairman of Ryanair Holdings Plc, the Dublin-based low-fare air carrier. He earlier held the same post at Continental Airlines Inc., which TPG bought out of bankruptcy in 1993.

--Editors: Steven Crabill, Rick Green

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To contact the reporter on this story: Sabrina Willmer in New York at swillmer2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net


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