Chinese Wasabi Pioneer's Owner Is Said to Plan $600 Million Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Asian buyout firm Unitas Capital is preparing a sale of Jiahao Foods, one of the first companies to make wasabi in China, people familiar with the matter said.

The fund could seek to value Jiahao, which also makes soy sauce and chicken powder, at about $600 million, according to the people. Unitas plans to send out more information on the company to potential bidders by the end of the month, the people said, asking not to be identified because the process is private.

The Zhongshan-based firm is led by Chairman Chen Zhixiong, known as “the Father of Chinese Mustard,” according to its website. The company also sells chicken, beef and abalone sauce, in addition to Jingba brand chili soy sauce. Jiahao, founded in 1994, has previously engaged Chinese actress Fan Bingbing to promote its seasonings.

Any deal would will add to the $13.2 billion of announced food-related acquisitions involving Chinese companies over the last 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A representative for Unitas Capital declined to comment.

Unitas Capital, which manages more than $4 billion, has made more than 30 investments across Australia, Korea, Japan and Singapore since its founding nearly two decades ago, its website shows. It has bought stakes in Haitai Confectionery & Foods Co., the South Korean manufacturer of snacks and chewing gum, as well as Shanghai-based restaurant chain Jiayo Noodle House.

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