S Korean PE firm MBK Partners plans to buy Accordia Golf for $1.5 bn

South Korean private equity firm MBK Partners is planning to buy Accordia Golf Co in a deal that could value the Japanese golf course operator as much as 160 billion yen ($1.5 billion), Reuters yesterday reported, citing three people with direct knowledge of the matter told Thomson Reuters LPC.

Japan's big three banks - Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group - are working on arranging senior loans worth 75 billion for MBK Partners to fund the deal, the report said.

Reacting to the report, Accordia Golf today said that it ''has made no such announcements. Furthermore, while Accordia Golf has ascertained that such a plan has been under consideration, it is not fully aware of its feasibility or other particulars, and has nothing to disclose at the present time.''

Founded in 1981, Accordia Golf, which has a market cap of $860 million, operates golf courses and golf practice ranges. The company also operates restaurants in golf courses, as well as sells golf equipments.

The Stock Exchange-listed company owns 43 golf courses and manages 93 others.

Japan is the world's third-largest golf market-behind the US and the UK, with more than 2,400 golf courses and about 8 million players.