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Toshiba to restart strategic review that could see it go private – Metro US

Toshiba to restart strategic review that could see it go private

Toshiba Corp’s annual general meeting with its shareholders in Tokyo
Toshiba Corp’s annual general meeting with its shareholders in Tokyo

By Makiko Yamazaki

TOKYO (Reuters) -Toshiba Corp set up a special committee on Thursday to resume a strategic review that could see the Japanese industrial conglomerate go private after shareholders voted down a management-backed restructuring plan last month.

The 146-year-old company has been under growing pressure from major shareholders to consider a private equity buyout that would allow them a quick exit with potentially solid returns.

The new committee, comprised of Toshiba’s six external directors, will engage with potential investors and sponsors and also “identify the privatisation offer that is best for our diverse stakeholders,” Toshiba said in a statement.

Relevant information about the review will be provided prior to the annual general meeting in June, according to the statement.

The company also said it would temporarily suspend divestitures that were part of the now rejected plan, including sales of its elevator and lighting businesses, as well as its discussions with Toshiba Tec Corp about the fate of the listed subsidiary.

During a five-month review leading to the restructuring plan last year, Toshiba held discussions with private equity firms but decided not to entertain potential offers, angering some hedge fund investors hoping for a private equity buyout.

Its top shareholder, Singapore-based Effissimo Capital Management, said last week that it had agreed to sell its 9.9% stake to Bain Capital if the U.S. private equity firm launched a tender offer.

But sources close to the company have told Reuters that taking Toshiba private would not be an easy task, as the company owns national security technologies such as nuclear power and semiconductors.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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