Toshiba Corp. is considering rejecting a buyout offer from British private equity firm CVC Capital Partners as the Japanese industrial conglomerate seeks to remain listed, sources close to the matter said Thursday,
Toshiba's senior officials have told the company's creditor banks that the electronics and infrastructure firm is against CVC's buyout plan worth over $20 billion and asked them not to provide funding to the private equity firm for a planned acquisition, the sources said.
Toshiba's potential rejection of the buyout plan raises the possibility of a hostile takeover bid by CVC, which is already soliciting other investors in Japan to join the move and aims to submit a more detailed proposal soon to acquire the Japanese firm.
Osamu Nagayama, chairman of the Toshiba board, is opposed to CVC's proposal intended to make the Japanese firm private, and a Toshiba executive has told a major Japanese bank that the company will "absolutely" remain listed, the sources said.
The revelation came as Nobuaki Kurumatani stepped down as president and CEO on Wednesday after the recent buyout proposal from CVC, Kurumatani's former employer, apparently led some executives at Toshiba to see it as his attempt to defend himself. Nagayama is believed to be one of the board members who raised questions about Kurumatani's stance of preventing activist shareholders from wielding influence.
A Toshiba spokesperson said no decision had been made to reject the buyout plan, adding that once a more detailed proposal is made, its board of directors will discuss the matter.
The purchase of Toshiba faces hurdles as it needs to pass screening by the Japanese government for national security reasons. Toshiba's business portfolio includes nuclear power and defense equipment.
Nagayama has said CVC's proposal was "abrupt" and lacked substance, suggesting that careful consideration is necessary.
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