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

TOKYO/HONG KONG, Aug 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) to get their ideas for its new strategy, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Bain Capital and Canadian investment firm Brookfield (BAMa.TO) have also been asked by the scandal-hit Japanese conglomerate’s strategic review board to collate and submit their ideas for Toshiba, the sources said.

The latest 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 buyout companies will result in offers. formal in the future.

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The step, however, says Toshiba has been engaging with potential bidders since shareholders ousted its chairman in June after the company was found guilty of collaborating with the Japanese government to pressure foreign investors.

Following the president’s ouster, Toshiba, which has numerous business lines and units and operates in multiple jurisdictions, launched a comprehensive review of its current assets and also pledged to engage with strategic investors and potential financiers.

“As announced, Toshiba’s Strategic Review Committee is reviewing 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 present the achievements when we announce the new business plan in October,” he said, but declined to comment further.

Spokespersons for Bain, Blackstone, KKR and Brookfield declined to comment.

Sources declined to be identified as the talks were private.

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

He also said the company was open to private offers although it hadn’t received any offers since a $20 billion takeover bid from CVC Capital Partners, which was later rejected in April for lack of details. .

The former Toshiba CEO left in April following controversy over CVC’s takeover bid.

Bain, Brookfield and KKR had previously weighed potential offers to take Toshiba private. The conglomerate said at the time that it believed being publicly listed provided an “appropriate capital structure to enhance long-term value creation”.

Toshiba’s decision to talk to private equity funds has puzzled some investors who have wondered why the company hasn’t launched a formal process to secure offers.

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

Toshiba, whose products range from escalators to sewers, remains one of Japan’s few makers of nuclear reactors and manufactures defense equipment, meaning any sale of the company would require government approval.

Shares of Toshiba opened 3% on Thursday before giving up half of the gains in late morning trading.

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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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