,Major deal: The Toshiba headquarters in Tokyo. CVC plans to propose a deal to take Toshiba private through a tender offer. — AFP
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TOKYO: Toshiba Corp is poised to surge after confirming it received an initial buyout offer from CVC Capital Partners, setting the stage for potentially the largest private equity-led acquisition in years.
The Japanese conglomerate issued the statement after reports about a possible agreement, saying it would seek more information as it weighs the proposal. Its board were meeting yesterday to discuss the potential deal, one person familiar with the matter said.
Shares of Toshiba were set to surge by the 18% limit in Tokyo yesterday, with a glut of bids outweighing offers to sell.
Toshiba had gained 33% in Japanese trading this year through Tuesday, giving the company a market value of more than 1.74 trillion yen (US$15.9bil or RM65bil).
Private equity firms have announced US$15.1bil of deals targeting Japanese firms over the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Nikkei reported earlier that CVC plans to propose a deal to take Toshiba private through a tender offer that could be worth more than US$20bil.
That would make it the largest private-equity led buyout since 2013, and CVC’s biggest acquisition on record. A formal proposal may be unveiled as soon as today, according to the newspaper.
“The question is whether shareholders would accept such a bid as it looks perhaps a little light, ” LightStream Research analyst Mio Kato wrote in a note on Smartkarma. Such a deal could also face opposition from Japan’s finance ministry, the analyst added.
Toshiba chief executive officer Nobuaki Kurumatani was a senior executive at CVC before joining Toshiba in 2018 as the first outsider to lead the company in more than 50 years. Since then, he has been trying to regain investor confidence after Toshiba was battered by accounting scandals and record losses.
Toshiba, once synonymous with the global ascent of corporate Japan, had been forced to sell its crown-jewel memory-chip business to avoid being delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
More recently, Toshiba investors passed a resolution backing an overseas hedge fund’s call to investigate voting at its last annual general meeting, heaping further pressure on the Toshiba board.
Among the more valuable assets remaining in Toshiba’s portfolio is memory chipmaker Kioxia Holdings Corp, which is said to be focused on pursuing an initial public offering as soon as this summer.
The Tokyo-based company, which makes NAND flash memory chips, has been planning to go public since Toshiba sold a majority stake in the business to a consortium in 2018, including Bain, Apple Inc and SK Hynix Inc.
Kioxia could be valued at more than US$36bil in the current market, said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute.