Toshiba to go private as board accepts $15 bn takeover bid: reports
Troubled Japanese conglomerate Toshiba on Thursday accepted a $15 billion takeover bid by a consortium led by investment fund Japan Industrial Partners, major local media outlets reported.
The long-awaited decision follows years of turmoil for the company, which once symbolised Japan's tech prowess but has recently faced scandals, financial troubles and high-level resignations.
Toshiba, which produces everything from rice cookers to medical equipment and nuclear plants, declined to comment on the reports.
The Nikkei and other media including public broadcaster NHK said a buyout by a consortium of around 20 Japanese companies had been approved at a Toshiba board meeting.
When approved under global competition laws, the acquisition, which has an estimated value of two trillion yen ($15 billion), is expected to take the engineering giant private, the Nikkei said.
Nearly two years ago, a bombshell buyout offer from private equity fund CVC Capital Partners put a question mark over the future for Toshiba.
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The ensuing saga has been closely watched in business circles for clues on what could become of other huge, diversified conglomerates in Japan and elsewhere.
After the CVC offer was dropped, plans were floated to split the company up and spin off its device segment -- meeting stiff opposition from some investors.
Several shareholders argued that a spin-off would only add to Toshiba's woes by creating more managerial posts at smaller units, rather than improving the firm's governance.
But that plan was rejected last year at an extraordinary shareholder meeting, dealing a blow to management as deadlock reigned over the next steps for the company.
The JIP-led consortium will purchase shares from existing shareholders and will also use bank loans to finance the buyout, the Nikkei said.
That would make decision-making easier as the company will be run by a single firm, according to the newspaper.
Toshiba can trace its history back to 1875, when its forerunner operated as a telegraph factory in Tokyo.
It grew into a vast conglomerate, but has been rocked by turbulence since 2015 when a profit-padding scandal erupted.
That led to huge losses, followed by a recovery that brought pressure from new activist shareholders.
Foreign investors have kept Toshiba afloat, but have also pushed for faster growth and a clearer long-term strategy.