Toshiba , the troubled Japanese conglomerate considering strategic options, said it has received eight preliminary approaches to take it private, as well as two suggestions for capital partnerships that would allow it to stay publicly traded.
The report comes amid recent indications that Toshiba, which has long been at odds with its activist shareholder base, is becoming more amenable to requests from international hedge fund investors to take the company private.
It appointed Akihiro Watanabe, an executive from Houlihan Lokey, a boutique U.S. investment bank, as chairman of the board and two activist shareholders as outside directors last month.
“We are excited by the many ideas because we believe they represent high expectations about Toshiba’s potential,” said Taro Shimada, who also presented aggressive new profit forecasts as part of a revamped business plan during a press conference on Thursday.
Toshiba, which has been beset by accounting and governance issues since 2015, formed a special committee in April to seek solutions after shareholders rejected a management-backed restructuring plan. Monday was the deadline for non-binding suggestions.
Following evaluating finance arrangements and the viability of the proposals, the business said it will pick potential investors to be offered due diligence chances after its annual shareholders’ meeting on June 28.
Toshiba is “a significant potential transaction,” according to LightStream Research analyst Mio Kato, who posts on Smartkarma. Its activist shareholders “are clearly very driven,” therefore it’s worth a look for any large PE funds.
“It hasn’t even reached due diligence yet, so there’s no reason not to take a look.”
The conglomerate did not identify any of the possible investors or specify how many were from outside the United States. KKR & Co, Blackstone, Bain Capital, Brookfield Asset Management, MBK Partners, Apollo Global Management, and CVC Capital Partners, according to persons familiar with the subject, were exploring bids.
Sources also indicated that domestic funds Japan Investment Corp, Japan Industrial Partners, and Polaris Capital Group were considering bidding.
Because several of Toshiba’s main businesses, like as defence equipment and nuclear power, are viewed as vitally crucial to the Japanese government, the participation of local money is seen as critical.
Takayuki Kobayashi, Japan’s economic security minister, has stated that the government will not prevent foreign investors from purchasing industrial behemoths if they follow rules governing the management of sensitive technology.
Toshiba also stated that it anticipates operating profit to more than quadruple to 360 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 2026, a figure it hopes to use as a starting point for conversations with possible investors.
Its goals are to improve data-related services, power management chip manufacture, and research on next-generation nuclear power reactors.
According to Shimada, the strategy did not account for whether the firm would stay publicly traded or not.
Shimada, who took over in March, has also changed the company’s attitude on a number of units. He added Toshiba TEC’s (6588.T) point-of-sale systems, as well as Toshiba’s elevators and lighting businesses, are now deemed crucial to growth rather than non-core.
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