TOKYO (Reuters) - Nomura Holdings Inc is returning to private equity - a move that comes as it seeks more stable income through consulting services and as Japanese firms increasingly look to divest non-core businesses as part of restructuring plans.
Japan's biggest brokerage and investment bank said in a statement it would initially invest about 100 billion yen (670 million pounds) in the new business. It has yet to identify any specific investment targets.
Nomura last made a fresh private equity investment in 2008. Its bigger deals included investments in Japanese restaurant chain Skylark and theme park resort Huis Ten Bosch. It sold its 41.76 percent stake in Skylark to Bain Capital in 2011, and dissolved its private equity arm in 2014.
The return to private equity comes in tandem with efforts to boost its U.S. investment banking business in anticipation of more deals in the United States or by U.S. companies looking to expand abroad.
That follows a big shrinking of Nomura's operations in Europe last year after its disastrous acquisition of Lehman Brothers' Asian and European businesses in 2008 which led to six consecutive years of losses for its international operations.
Japan has seen recently seen a spate of big private equity-led deals.
Toshiba Corp has agreed to sell its chip unit for $18 billion to a consortium led by Bain, while U.S. buyout firm KKR & Co LP last year paid $4.5 billion to buy a 41 percent stake in auto parts supplier Calsonic Kansei.
Just this month, Bain managed to get Britain's WPP to agree to accept an offer for its stake in Japanese advertising firm Asatsu-DK.
KKR & Co also boosted its bid price for Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc for a second time, seeking to appease U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Management which has bought into the Japanese semiconductor equipment manufacturer.
Separately, Nomura said it would cancel treasury shares worth 4.7 percent of outstanding shares on Dec. 18 - an announcement that helped lift its stock 2 percent in early Wednesday trade.
(Reporting by Thomas Wilson and Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)