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2011年11月23日

Dynamic Dragons II Had History With Struggling Firms (WSJ)

In the years before Dynamic Dragons II sold stakes in small, unprofitable companies to Olympus Corp., the Cayman Island fund had an active record investing in similarly obscure, struggling Japanese firms, according to an examination of public records.

The stated purpose of those investments, according to corporate filings and executive statements at the time, was to strengthen and rehabilitate the target firms. But in many cases those companies failed instead— sometimes amid charges by Japanese regulators and prosecutors of violating rules or criminal activity.

In 2004 and 2005, Dynamic Dragons II, along with a company called J Bridge Corp., took a stake in the IT consultancy Phi Co., according to corporate filings.

Executives from J Bridge and others connected to Dynamic Dragons II soon joined Phi's board, according to company filings from mid 2005. Soon after, Phi started investing in other firms alongside J Bridge and Dynamic Dragons II.

In 2005, J Bridge led a group of eleven investors—including Dynamic Dragons II and Phi—to recapitalize golf-wear maker Kosugi Sangyo by buying ¥4.3 billion ($56 million) in shares, according to corporate filings and articles from the time. At the time, J Bridge executives said they were determined to revive the apparel-maker. The determination was short-lived: J Bridge sold its stake in 2007, and Kosugi Sangyo filed for bankruptcy protection two years later. It's not clear what happened with Dynamic Dragons II's stake.

J Bridge took a 14% stake in insolvent restaurateur Tasco System in 2005 and 2006, accompanied by Kosugi Sangyo and TransDigital, which Phi changed its name to in Aug. 2005. Dynamic Dragons II took a 19% stake in Tasco in 2007, according to fund filings.

Those investments too were short-lived. J Bridge sold its TransDigital stake in September 2006, and its Tasco stake in August 2007. Tasco later ceased operations, after being booted from Japan's Jasdaq exchange for failing to provide sufficient information on its finances; TransDigital filed for bankruptcy protection and its president was convicted for hiding assets from creditors.

A spokesman for Asia Alliance Holdings Co., the current name for J Bridge, said the executives who were responsible for those investments have all left the company. Executives connected with Dynamic Dragons II couldn't be reached to comment. A representative for Kosugi, the current incarnation of Kosugi Sangyo, said only some of the assets from the old company remain, and none of the executives.
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Posted at 2011/11/26 09:45:45

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