Toshiba announces offer from JIP as saga enters its final stages

Toshiba Corp. said it received an offer from a Japanese group as the conglomerate moved a step closer to ending a troubled chapter in its 148-year history — after a series of scandals plunged it into difficulty and set it on a path toward a sale.

The Tokyo-based company announced the offer from a consortium led by domestic private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners Inc. in a statement Thursday. It said it just received the offer today and will assess it, noting that there’s no assurance a deal will be done. The statement didn’t give further details of the proposal.

The announcement suggests that Toshiba’s sale process is back on track after its preferred bidder, the group led by JIP, ran into difficulty securing bank financing. Top Japanese lenders decided to issue commitment letters to support a loan for the buyout, Bloomberg News reported this week. 

The JIP-led group has made a final buyout offer of about ¥2 trillion ($15.2 billion), the Nikkei reported Thursday, which is broadly in line with Toshiba’s market value. A spokesperson for JIP declined to comment.

If approved by shareholders, a deal would mark the culmination of a saga that has pitted Toshiba’s management against vocal foreign investors for years in a test case for how Japanese companies are run. 

A sale to the JIP-led group would mean Toshiba’s nuclear power business, which is deemed important to national security, wouldn’t pass into foreign hands. The business is involved in decommissioning the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, making it hard for the government to accept a transfer of ownership to an overseas firm. –BLOOMBERG