EXCLUSIVE-Toshiba in talks with four investment firms for strategic ideas -sources


Band Makiko Yamazaki and Scott Murdoch

TOKYO / HONG KONG, August 25 (Reuters)Toshiba Corp 6502.T is in talks with at least four global private equity firms, including KKR & Co Inc KKR.N and Blackstone Inc BX.N seek their ideas for his new strategy, said three sources with knowledge of the matter.

Bain Capital and Canadian investment firm Brookfield BAMa.TO were also approached by the scandal-affected Japanese conglomerate’s strategic review committee to put together and submit their ideas for Toshiba, the sources said.

The latter process is not intended to formally solicit buyout offers for the entire company or some of its assets, and it is not immediately clear whether engagement with the buyout companies will result in offers. formal in the future.

The step, however, indicates that Toshiba has been engaging with potential bidders since shareholders ousted its chairman in June after the company was found to have colluded with the Japanese government to pressure foreign investors.

Following the ouster of the president, Toshiba, which has many lines of business and units and operates in multiple jurisdictions, launched a comprehensive review of its current assets and also committed to engage with strategic and financial investors. potentials.

“As announced, Toshiba’s strategic review committee is considering and discussing a wide range of initiatives without delay,” Toshiba said in a statement to Reuters.

Toshiba, which had a market valuation of around $ 19 billion on Wednesday, “plans to showcase the achievements when we announce the new business plan in October,” he said, but declined to comment further.

Spokesmen for Bain, Blackstone and KKR declined to comment, while Brookfield did not immediately respond to a Reuters request.

The sources declined to be identified as the talks were private.

In a earnings briefing this month, Toshiba chief executive Satoshi Tsunakawa said the company has “been vigorously engaged in a dialogue not only with shareholders but also with financial investors. and strategic ”.

He also said the company was open to private offers although it had not received any offers since a $ 20 billion take-over bid from CVC Capital Partners, which was later rejected in April for lack of funding. details.

The former Toshiba CEO left in April following a controversy over the CVC takeover offer.

Bain, Brookfield and KKR had previously weighed Toshiba’s potential privatization offers. The conglomerate said at the time that it believed that being listed on the stock exchange provided a “capital structure suitable for improving long-term value creation.”

Toshiba’s decision to speak with private equity funds puzzled some investors who questioned why the company had not launched a formal process to secure offers.

In June, an investigation concluded that Toshiba was in collusion with Japan’s Ministry of Commerce to prevent investors from gaining influence at last year’s shareholders’ meeting – a finding that put Japan’s governance Inc in the spotlight.

Toshiba, whose products range from escalators to sewers, remains one of the few Japanese manufacturers of nuclear reactors and manufactures defense equipment, which means any sale of the company would require government approval.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki in Tokyo and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Kane Wu; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee, Kim Coghill and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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