Japan > Managing Directors
- Akihiro Watanabe
- Hiroyasu Kato
- Shogo Nakamura
- Koji Sasayama
- Gen Takahashi
- Naohisa Fukutani
- Sachio Kuninori
- Nobuhiko Masuto
- Isao Okubo
- Nobuo Sayama
- Reijiro Yamamoto
Akihiro Watanabe is a Representative Director of GCA Savvian Corporation.Akihiro Watanabe, a founding Partner of GCA, and the founder of GCA’s predecessor company, Global Corporate Advisory, has over 25 years of experience in providing M&A advisory services both in Japan and overseas. He has advised on over 1,000 transactions in his career. With over 12 years advising clients in the U.S. and 13 years advising clients in Japan, Akihiro Watanabe has a solid understanding of M&A practices in both cultures and is able effectively identify, structure and negotiate transactions that are his clients’ best interest. Akihiro Watanabe is well-known for his unique and creative structuring capabilities that go well beyond what is typically expected from an investment banker and are based on his extensive experience and strong tax knowledge. He is a Japanese CPA, an extremely desirable quality for an investment banker in Japan.
Prior to founding Global Corporate Advisory in 2002, Akihiro Watanabe spent 20 years with KPMG, primarily focusing on M&A advisory and M&A transaction related services for Japanese as well as US companies. He joined the New York office of KPMG in 1982 and become and Partner in the Corporate Finance Group in 1990. After 12 years in New York, he returned to KPMG in Japan and continued to focus on M&A advisory and continued to gain experience in both domestic and cross-border deals. Akihiro Watanabe began his career at Heiwa Auditing Corporation.
Major recent transaction advisory roles include: representing Ricoh in its acquisition of a 51% interest in InfoPrint Solutions Company and representing Nikko Cordial Corporation on the tender offer for over 50% of its common stock by Citigroup Japan Investments LLC. Additional significant transactions include: Matsushita Electric’s acquisition and subsequent sale of MCA, the merger of Sankyo and Daiichi Pharmaceutical, the restructuring of Matsushita Investment & Development, the listing of EPCOS on the NYSE, a joint venture of Matsushita Electric Component and Siemens AG, the sale of Silicon Systems to Texas Instruments, the acquisition of Headway by TDK, the merger between Green Cross and Yoshitomi Pharmaceutical, the merger between Nihon Paper and Daishowa Paper Mfg., and the acquisition of Torii Pharmaceutical by Japan Tobacco.
Akihiro Watanabe is a recognized expert on M&A in Japan and has published several books on M&A including: "M&A Global Practice,” ”The Corporate Acquisition Business Handbook," and "M&A and Governance." These books are used by corporate business development executives and M&A professionals throughout Japan. Additionally, he has jointly published the following: “Commentary on International Accounting Standards," "Encyclopedia of US Tax", "Encyclopedia of US Accounting Practices" (Edited by KPMG LLP), and "Stock Options - Introduction and Success."
Akihiro Watanabe is a visiting professor at the MBA program at Kobe University as well as at the postgraduate law school at Hitotsubashi University. He is a frequent speaker on industry panels related to M&A topics including cross-border transactions, MBOs, and takeover defense strategies. Akihiro Watanabe is a graduate of Chuo University, where he majored in Commerce and Accounting.
Hiroyasu Kato is a Managing Director of GCA Savvian Corporation,the Representative Director of DCo Corporation , the Representative Partner of DCo Tax Corporation and the Director of GCA Savvian China Co.,Ltd. He has extensive experience in all phases of the M&A transaction including business valuation, structuring, accounting & tax assessment, business restructuring, negotiation of terms and conditions and due diligence for domestic and cross-border acquisitions. In the area of valuation, he is well qualified to provide fairness opinions, calculations of merger and share exchange ratios, and intangible asset valuations. As Hiroyasu Kato is certified as a CPA in both Japan and the U.S., he is able to offer the skills of an accountant as well as an investment banker.
In 1992, he started his career in audit in New York with KPMG, where he provided audit services to Japanese companies and also advised Japanese companies on the establishment of U.S. joint ventures. In 1998, he returned to Japan and joined KPMG Corporate Finance where he specialized in M&A and transaction advisory related services.
He has experience in a wide range of industries from manufacturing, wholesale, retail, automobile components, pharmaceuticals, and media. He has specialized experienced in the acquisition of brand apparel, shoes, handbags and accessories. Key transactions include the acquisition of luxury brand business and merchandise licenses of Hunting World, Bally, Chrome Hearts, Paul Smith and others by ITOCHU Corporation, the acquisition of sales agencies in Oceania area by Fuji Photo Films, the acquisition of SII compressor business by Calsonic, the acquisition of Two Wheels Manufacturing JV Company in Indonesia by Honda Motor Co., Ltd. in conjunction with Astra, the transfer of electricity transformation operations from Hitachi, Fuji Electric and Meidensha to Japan AE Power Systems, and the acquisition Asahi Kasei by Japan Tobacco.
Hiroyasu Kato is frequent lecturer at M&A seminars and contributes articles to M&A magazines. He is a part-time instructor at Kobe University. Hiroyasu Kato graduated from Kansai University, where he majored in Commerce.
Shogo Nakamura is a Managing Director of GCA Savvian Corporation. He has an extensive background in capital markets, both in debt and equity financing as well as in M&A. Between 1988～1992, he led over 20 issues of equity financing of both Japanese and non-Japanese companies’ OTC listings. In 1993, he was actively involved in both equity and debt financing as the head of corporate relationships in the Capital Markets Department of Mitsubishi Securities. In 1995, he was selected to head the Investment Banking Business Development Department and was responsible for the growth of the M&A, securitization, investor relations and private banking businesses, which developed into independent units. He was responsible for overseeing M&A, acquisition financing and TOB deal flow of over 200 deals a year as well as managing a team of over 100 people. In his role, his company achieved the No.1 position in terms of number of deals and No.3 in terms of aggregate transaction amount in 2005.
Prior to joining GCA, Shogo Nakamura had an extensive career with Mitsubishi Securities, which he first joined the Capital Markets Group in 1993. He was promoted to lead the Investment Banking Business Development in 1996 and subsequently promoted to a lead position in the M&A Group in 2004. Previously, he gained significant capital markets experience at Kokusai Securities in underwriting, where he was involved in providing financing for listed companies. He began his career with Sumitomo Mutual Life.
Recent transactions include the capital participation into Takara by Index, the merger of Takara and Tomy, the management integration of Coca Cola West Japan and Kinki Coca Cola, the capital participation into OMC card by Acom, the capital participation into Sega by Sammy, and the acquisition of Nissho Interlife by Sammy. He executed the then revolutionary 70% control premium TOB of Kanematsu and Unidax’s strategic alliance. Other deals that he has played a central role in include: the acquisition of Tokyo Biso Kogyo Corporation by U.S. Johnson Controls, the acquisition of Jareco by Hong Kong’s Pacific Century Cyberworks, and the capital participation in Kraft, Sugi Yakkoyku and Drug Eleven by Jusco (the current Aeon Group).
Shogo Nakamura graduated from Doshisha University, with a degree in Economics.
Koji Sasayama is a Managing Director of Mezzanine Corporation. He has had an extensive career in both investment banking and acquisition financing. He has been a pioneer of the acquisition finance business in Japan executing many transactions that were the first of their kind. For example, he conducted the first short-term bridge financing for the TOB of Daimon (the current Mine Mart) in 2000 by Unison Capital in Japan along with the long-term permanent financing to replace it after the target company went private and the inter-creditor agreement between mezzanine investors and senior lenders. He has structured and executed various types of financing arrangements and has worked on deals from origination, through evaluation, execution, and syndication. He continues to focus on developing and maintaining relationships with corporations and private equity funds in order to generate opportunities for the acquisition finance business.
Prior to joining Mezzanine Corporation, he worked at the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan (Currently Shinsei Bank) where he began his career in the M&A division and was engaged in cross-border M&A advisory services related to the acquisitions of hotels and resorts abroad. In 1993, while he was in Chicago, he started providing corporate finance services to U.S. companies. He was transferred to New York in 1995 and became involved in acquisition financing for LBO and MBO transactions. He also took part in the investment of limited partnerships of private equity funds. Through his experience and involvement in the acquisition financing business in the U.S., he was exposed to many transactions across a diverse range of industries. Upon returning to Japan, he joined the Industrial Bank of Japan (currently Mizuho Corporate Bank) where he started the bank's acquisition finance business.
Significant financings include the 2003 acquisition financing of over 200 billion yen for the first Japanese mega LBO transaction, the acquisition of Japan Telecom by Ripplewood (the current RHJ International). He also led the financing arrangement of the acquisition of Shaklee Japan and Shaklee U.S., a multinational / multicurrency acquisition finance in 2004. In 2006, he provided one-stop services, providing both the mezzanine financing and senior debt financing, for the second MBO for Shinwa by CVC Asia Pacific.
He jointly published “M&A Finance ” in 2006, the first book in Japan related to acquisition financing.
He is a frequent lecturer on M&A financing and often contributes articles related to M&A financing. Koji Sasayama received his MBA from The Johnson School of Cornell University in 1993. He received B.A. in Economics from Keio University.
Gen Takahashi is a Managing Director of GCA Savvian Corporation. He has been engaged in the M&A advisory business since 1995 and has been involved in numerous M&A transactions. He has significant experience in business revitalization transactions and has advised on many deals for the Industry Revitalization Corporation of Japan.
Prior to joining GCA, Gen Takahashi worked in investing banking at Daiwa Securities SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Gen Takahashi authored “M&A for Corporate Revitalization” which was published in the M&A Review in 2003.
His main advisory experience includes: the business transfer of Crown Leasing (a leasing company affiliated with Nippon Credit Bank which was the first landmark restructuring in Japan), the business transfer of Okura Shoji (a general trading company), the business transfer of RDS to Toshiba Lighting and Technology (the first deal in Japan as a business transfer of companies under Japan’s Civil Rehabilitation Law), the business transfer of Hitachi Seiki by Mori Seiki, the capital infusion of Dac Vivre, capital decrease and increase of STT Development, and the underwriting of capital for DIA Construction by Leopalace 21.
Gen Takahashi graduated from Sophia University, Japan, where he majored in Portuguese.
Naohisa Fukutani is a Managing Director of GCA Savvian Corporation. He has been involved in many large-scale cross-border transactions in Asia, the U.S. and Europe over his 20-year career in investment banking and international business. As a partner of GCA, he currently focuses on sourcing, negotiating and executing deals for companies in a broad range of industries. With international work experience in Japan, Asia and the US, he brings significant insight and expertise to cross-border M&A transactions between Japanese companies and companies located around the world. In addition, he has specialized experience in executing complex “intra-Asia” deals including financial restructurings and sales/purchases of distressed assets.
Prior to joining GCA, Naohisa Fukutani worked for Daiwa Securities SMBC. During his Daiwa career, he was sent to Singapore, where he was in charge of Asian M&A deals for the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Daiwa Securities Group as the Head of Corporate Finance Department. He advised Japanese firms such as Ajinomoto, Kyocera Mita and NYK Lines in the region as well as local companies in both public & private sectors in the semiconductor manufacturing, cement, banking, and retailing industries in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, HK, and Korea. In addition, he supervised a number of Asia Pacific listing projects including Singapore Post's (semi-public postal service company) POWL (Public Offering Without Listing), the first Singaporean company to do such an offering in Japan.
Naohisa Fukutani has been involved in a number of high-profile transactions. He was involved in the landmark 350 billion yen asset sale of Crown Leasing Corporation, a subsidiary of Nippon Credit Bank (currently know as Aozora Bank), that went bankrupt in 1997 with over 1 trillion yen in debt (the largest bankruptcy in history at that time). In New York, he was involved in M&A transactions of large multi-national companies such as Mannesmann and Motorola. He has also executed M&A deals for Japanese companies such as Toshiba, Brother Industries, Nisshinbo, Orix and Daiwa House. Recently, he has been involved in developing a takeover defence strategy for a number of TSE listed companies.
In 1999, he had the opportunity to work in New York as Sakura Bank's (the current Sumitomo Mitsui Bank) Chief Representative of Investment Banking Division Company and he was responsible for planning and executing M&A transactions. Prior to this, Naohisa Fukutani worked in investment banking at Sakura in Tokyo, after he served in the area of loan syndications at Mitsui Bank, the forerunner of Sakura. He started his career at The United Nations (Secretariat of International Year of Peace) in New York.
Naohisa Fukutani performed as a guest lecturer at many prestigious universities such as Hitotsubashi, Waseda, Kyoto, Kobe, Chuo, etc. He is also a frequent contributor to M&A publications. He jointly published "Case studies: M&A White Book for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Japan," “A complete guide for Hostile Takeover Defense,” “Invisible risks in Asia,” and so on.
Naohisa Fukutani received his MBA from Columbia University, a Masters degree in political science from Ohio State University and an LLM from University of Tsukuba. He received his undergraduate liberal arts degree from International Christian University.
Sachio Kuninori is a Managing Director of GCA Savvian Corporation.
He has more than 25 years of financial services and investment banking experience in both Japan and the US. Prior to GCA Savvian in February 2008, Sachio Kuninori was General Manager of Investment Banking Credit Division of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and was responsible for making credit decisions for investment banking related transactions, which included project finance, LBO/MBO finance, asset securitization transaction, trade finance, loan underwriting, etc. He was also responsible for managing investment banking related loan portfolio totaling more than US$30 billion.
He has been engaged in wide range of investment banking related activities for more than 25 years after joining the Bank of Tokyo, Ltd. Sachio started his M&A advisory career in early 80's mainly focusing on cross border transactions and advised leading Japanese companies on a number of M&A transactions. Sachio was Senior Vice President of BTMU Capital, where he played a key role in expanding the business globally in the area of equipment and aircraft engine leasing as well as in securitization and syndication activities.
Sachio Kuninori completed his Masters in Business Administration degree at Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the University of Tokyo where he majored in law.
Nobuhiko Masuto is a Managing Director of GCA Savvian Corporation.
For over 20 years, Nobuhiko Masuto has been involved in a wide range of corporate finance activities including investment banking, private equity and structured financing in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. He has extensive experience in advising on M&A, IPO, private placement and LBO financing transactions and also has principal experience in equity and mezzanine investments. He has led the origination and execution of both cross-border M&A transactions as well as Japanese domestic deals.
Prior to joining GCA Savvian, Nobuhiko Masuto worked at Ripplewood Japan where he was responsible for origination and execution of buyout transactions. He was also heavily involved in post-acquisition management through his management roles in Ripplewood portfolio companies. Prior to joining Ripplewood, Nobuhiko Masuto worked as an investment banker for Daiwa Securities and Sumitomo Bank (currently known as Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation) Tokyo. During his career, he had the opportunity to establish Japan Equity Capital Inc., a private equity firm sponsored by Daiwa Securities SMBC, Sumitomo Corporation and GE Capital. Additionally, with Sumitomo, he spent over 8 years in London, focusing upon cross-border M&A transactions between Europe and Japan/U.S. and structured finance transactions for U.K. and Swiss blue-chip companies and municipals. He also spent time in the U.S., having been seconded to Robertson Stephens & Co. in San Francisco where he focused on the technology sector investment banking.
Recently, Nobuhiko Masuto represented All Nippon Airways in its investment in Skynet Asia Airways, the management team of Omron Entertainment Inc. in its MBO, and Matsuzakaya (a major Japanese department store) in its corporate defense actions against a hostile takeover by an activist fund. He has also led many successful large scale cross-border M&A transactions including TDK Co. Ltd.’s acquisition of Silicon Systems (a U.S. semiconductor manufacturer acquired through TOB), Sumitomo Heavy Industries’ acquisition of Lumonics (a Canadian laser technology company acquired through TOB), a Japanese trading company’s acquisition of Argo-Tech (a U.S. aircraft pump manufacturer through a consortium with Vester Capital) and Nippon Paint’s shareholding realignment with its U.S. joint venture partner.
He is a visiting instructor at Kobe University’s business school and often is a speaker at M&A and private equity related seminars. He holds the Authorized Sales Representative and Internal Administrator certification issued by the Japanese Securities Dealers Association (“JSDA”) and the Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) in the U.K.
Nobuhiko Masuto completed his Masters in Finance degree at the London Business School, University of London, and received his undergraduate degree from Keio University, where he majored in Law.
Isao Okubo is a Managing Director of GCA Savvian Corporation. He has been engaged in the M&A advisory business since 1996. He has significant experience in cross-border M&A transactions for manufacturing companies.
Before joining GCA, he was a senior vice president in the Strategic Advisory Department of Daiwa SMBC, which he joined in 2002. Prior to joining Daiwa, he worked in the M&A Group at Sakura Bank (currently Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation). At Sakura Bank he worked in several departments, including Aircraft Financing, foreign exchange and lending.
Advisory deals include the business transfer of Crown Leasing (the largest bankruptcy deal in Japan at the time), the sale of the Grand Hyatt in Seoul, the sale of a US magnetic iron oxide manufacturer, the acquisition of a shipbuilding business of Niigata Engineering, the sale of a Japanese automotive parts manufacturer, the acquisition of a LCD manufacturing machine maker, the sale of a Japan business owned by a major US PE fund, the acquisition of a ticketing machine business of a telecom equipment company, the sale of Thai subsidiary of a Japanese electric maker, and the sale of a financial consulting company.
Isao Okubo received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Tokyo where he studied law.
Nobuo Sayama is an Honorary Advisor of GCA Savvian Corporation. Nobuo Sayama, a founding Partner of GCA, and potentially the most well-known investment banker in Japan, has over 20 years of experience in the investment banking and corporate turnarounds. Nobuo Sayama began his M&A career in 1987 with Mitsui Bank (currently Sumitomo Mitsui Bank) and led the M&A team’s domestic and cross-border efforts in New York from 1990 to 1995. During the recession years of the late 1990s, he dealt with distressed deals and is known for pioneering the sale of distressed companies in Japan. He has extensive experience in many significant high profile deals, healthy and distressed, domestic and cross-border. He is well-known for his negotiation technique and style and is well sought after as an advisor.
After a 10+ year career with Mitsui Bank, Nobuo Sayama jointly established Unison Capital as a representative director and partner. Unison Capital was one of the first Japanese buyout funds which specialized in corporate turnarounds, which at the time was a new concept in Japan. While at Unison, Nobuo Sayama and his team led the turnaround of Tohato, a well-known confectionary maker, and Kiriu, a car parts manufacturer. In May 2003, he became director of Global Corporate Advisory and then assumed the position as representative director at GCA in April 2004. Prior to his investment banking career, he worked for Teijin, a fibers manufacturer, as an engineer and was involved in manufacturing technology development for polymerization of polyester as well as new product R&D.
Recently, Nobuo Sayama advised Hankyu Holdings Inc. on its merger with Hanshin Electric Railway Co., which was the largest post-war private railway merger in Japan. One of his most famous transactions was Crown Leasing, a subsidiary of Nippon Credit Bank (the current Aozora Bank), which went bankrupt with debt of over 1 trillion yen in 1997, the largest debt in the history at that time. He sold the assets amounting to over 350 billion yen of domestic lease sales as well as overseas assets in a short 2-month time frame and concurrently disposed of other domestic and overseas assets. Concurrently, he pioneered the bulk-sale of non-performing loans through this transaction where he also sold approximately 300 billion yen in NPLs over a 3 month-period. His bulk-sale method became the foundation of bad debt bulk-sale in Japan. Additionally, he is well-known for his role in the Okura Shoji bankruptcy in 1998 where he divested the airplane segment and wine business in one month, which set a precedent for bankrupt companies in Japan.
Nobuo Sayama is recognized as an M&A expert in Japan and frequently appears on televised economic debates regarding recent corporate finance topics in Japan. He is a professor at post graduate International Corporate Strategy course at Hitotsubashi University. He is well published, with works including: "Economic Analysis by Financial Information," "Japanese M&A Practice Course," "The Revitalization Business and Methods," "Legal Liquidation for Corporate Revitalization: Focusing on the New Corporate Rehabilitation Act," “Textbook for Licensing Examination of Business Administration Study: Issues for Today's Management" and "Pre-Packaged Business Revitalization."
Nobuo Sayama received his MBA from the Stern School of Business in at NYU. He also completed a doctoral course at the department of Industrial Engineering and Management Tokyo Institute of Technology (Ph.D.). He earned his bachelors degree from Kyoto University, where he majored in Engineering.
Nobuo Sayama is a member of the Japanese Association of Turnaround Professionals (Executive Director), Japanese Association for Business Recovery, Japan Corporate Finance Association and The Japanese Association of Management Accounting. He has been a key member of various committees of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry including the MBO committee and the pre-packaged filing committee.
Reijiro Yamamoto is a Fellow of GCA Savvian Corporation. Reijiro Yamamoto, a founding Partner of GCA, has over 20 years of experience in investment banking related activities including domestic and cross-border M&A, MBOs, LBOs, going-private transactions, debt-restructuring, workouts of multi-national insolvent companies and sales of non-performing loans in Japan, Europe and the US. He is extremely knowledgeable on deal financing issues, having arranged, structured, negotiated financing for numerous transactions.
Reijiro Yamamoto began his career with Mitsui Bank (the current Sumitomo Mitsui Bank) in 1984. In 1990, he joined AT Kearney as a management consultant in Chicago and subsequently, he moved to London in 1991, where he engaged in structured finance. After 7+ years in London, he returned to Japan in 1998 and joined Sakura Bank's Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions Department (currently Daiwa Securities SMBC) where he was in charge of the cross-border M&A group. He joined Unison Capital in 2000.
With GCA, he structured and closed the MBO of World Co., Ltd., the largest MBO in Japan. Representative cross-border transactions (which are not able to be publicly disclosed) include transactions such as the sale of an overseas finance subsidiary, the sale of a subsidiary of an electric manufacturer and the acquisition of a Japanese semiconductor inspection device manufacturer by a British company in the same industry. When he was with Unison Capital, one of the first Japanese buyout funds which specialized in corporate turnarounds, he played a key role in the success of Unison’s first buyout fund which invested in Orient Credit (consumer finance), Mine Mart, (retail), Kiriu (automobile components), ASCII/Enter Brain (Publishing), Tohato (Foods), Tacmic SP (plastic injection molding), and Drug Eleven (retail). He was a member of the fund investment management committee and also provided advisory services to his portfolio company clients often taking on the director role at the companies.
He is a part-time instructor of the MBA School at Kobe University and is a frequent speaker at seminars regarding M&A and buyouts at Waseda University, HItotsubashi ICS and other forums. Reijiro Yamamoto received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania as well as a Masters from the Lauder Institute. He earned his undergraduate degree from Hitotsubashi University, where he majored in Economics.