Toshiba reveals buyout bids as privatisation odds increase

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) – Toshiba said it received eight offers to buy out the conglomerate and two proposals for capital and business alliances as the Japanese industrial giant moved a step closer to a possible privatisation.

The Tokyo-based company outlined the number of non-binding offers received in a statement Thursday (June 2), without disclosing the bidders. It will evaluate the proposals and choose one or more of them to pursue, as soon as possible after the annual shareholder meeting scheduled for June 28.

Toshiba’s shares rose as much as 1.9 per cent in Tokyo. Toshiba said last month it signed confidentiality agreements with 10 potential investors as part of its process to solicit proposals on privatization and strategic alternatives. The firm has been looking at other options after shareholders voted down a plan put forward by management to split in two.

Last week, Toshiba nominated an M&A veteran to chair its board and picked two executives from its activist shareholders among its slate of director candidates, which will be voted on at the AGM and then decide on the buyout offers.

Former chief executive Satoshi Tsunakawa, who had opposed going private, will step down from the board. Private equity investors including CVC Capital Partners, Blackstone and Bain Capital were considering making bids, Bloomberg News has reported.

State-backed investment fund Japan Investment Corp. was also mulling an offer, Bloomberg reported last month.

Toshiba will provide selected bidders with the opportunity to do due diligence in July and after, and ask them to submit legally binding proposals, it said in the statement.

Toshiba has been locked in a conflict with its shareholders over the future of the conglomerate, whose businesses range from semiconductors and quantum computing to nuclear power plants.

Activist investors have been calling for the company to go private, a path that Toshiba management had been resisting before its proposal to split in two was voted down. Analysts have said the nuclear business, which is deemed important to Japan’s national security, is a major obstacle to any privatisation.

A buyout of Toshiba, which has a market value of more than US$19 billion, could be private equity’s biggest ever deal in the country.

Separately on Thursday, Toshiba announced its management policy for the group, including a target of net sales of 5 trillion yen and 600 billion yen in operating income in fiscal 2030.


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