NED Becomes YED With Sale to Yasuda –

TOKYO/PALO ALTO, Calif. – Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. and Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance Co. were expected to complete their purchase of Nippon Enterprise Development Corp.(NED) by the end of August, said NED’s California-based General Manager Akira Minakuchi.

At the deal’s close, NED will be renamed Yasuda Enterprise Development (YED) and will continue to operate as a venture firm that invests an average of $3 million in early- to late-stage communications, semiconductor and medical-device companies in the United States and Japan.

YED has offices in Tokyo, Taiwan and Palo Alto, and its main shareholder has been the Long Term Credit Bank of Japan (LTCB), which was recently nationalized and is in the process of liquidating its assets (VCJ, March, page 28).

Yasuda is retaining nearly all of NED’s employees, Mr. Minakuchi said, and the two Japanese insurance companies have put up almost $150 million in new capital for the venture group to manage. About one-third of that will be invested in the United States, and some $20 million already has been invested in Japan.

Additionally, Mr. Minakuchi expects YED to raise a $50 million to $100 million outside fund by early next year in Asia, Japan and the United States. Further details had not been determined, but Mr. Minakuchi might add additional staff to his California office if the outside fund comes to fruition. Presently, Mr. Minakuchi is YED’s only investment professional in this country.