Toshiba to weigh buyout offer from UK fund

by AFP

TOKYO – Toshiba has received a buyout offer from a British private equity fund and will consider the proposal, it said Wednesday, with reports suggesting the deal could be worth about $20 billion.

Trading of Toshiba shares was temporarily halted on Tokyo’s stock exchange at the open, after the Japanese firm confirmed the offer first reported hours earlier by local media.

In a statement, Toshiba said it “received an initial proposal yesterday” by CVC Capital Partners for a buyout deal.

“We will request detailed information and carefully discuss” the offer, the firm added.

The Nikkei newspaper said CVC was considering a 30 percent premium over the Japanese industrial group’s current share price, valuing the deal at nearly 2.3 trillion yen ($20.8 billion) based on Tuesday’s close.

The financial daily said CVC would consider recruiting other investors to participate in the deal.

The proposal would take Toshiba private, with delisting intended to produce faster decision-making by Toshiba’s management, which has clashed with shareholders recently, reports said.

The move, if successful, would allow the firm to concentrate resources on renewable energies and other core businesses, reports added.

Toshiba CEO and President Nobuaki Kurumatani told reporters Wednesday that “we received the proposal but we’ll discuss it in a board meeting.”

Reports suggested the discussions would begin on Wednesday, though Toshiba did not immediately specify.

Toshiba has been hit by false accounting scandals and huge losses linked to its US nuclear unit.

It was forced to sell its profit-making chip sector to make up for huge losses.

Following painful restructuring, its earnings rebounded and the company in January returned to the prestigious first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.