NED Slated for Sale To Insurance Firms –

TOKYO – Nippon Enterprise Development Corp. (NED), a Japanese venture capital firm with offices in Tokyo, Taiwan and Palo Alto, Calif., is getting a new owner.

Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. and Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance Co. will buy the practice from NED’s main shareholder, Japan’s Long Term Credit Bank, which was recently nationalized as part of the government’s efforts to restructure the country’s ailing banking system.

NED has some $400 million under management, said Tokyo-based Assistant Manager Jun Hosoya, who projected the Yasuda deal to be completed by the end of February. He said he expected the new relationship to bring additional capital from Yasuda to NED’s management team. NED, with an estimated 90-member staff spread across its three offices, signed a letter of intent regarding the sale in early February, Mr. Hosoya said.

U.S. Presence Maintained

Created in 1972, NED opened a Silicon Valley office in 1989 where the firm backs early- to expansion-stage West Coast companies in the telecommunications, computer and medical-device industries, said Akira Minakuchi, NED’s sole U.S. investment professional. The firm so far intends to maintain a presence in the United States.

Mr. Minakuchi said he would like to continue investing on NED’s behalf in the States, where the group has some $40 million under management.

Neither Yasuda entity could be reached by press time.