Toshiba, one of the great names of Japanese business and technology, is mulling an offer to go private from London-based venture capital fund CVC Capital.
Japanese business newspaper Nikkei reported last night that CVC had tabled an offer worth Y2trn (£13bn), that was said to be receiving “careful consideration” from the company’s board.
Toshiba is almost 150 years old and renowned globally as a manufacturer of electrical products ranging from computers and televisions to microwaves and radar equipment as well as inventing flash memory.
Recent history though has seen the brands tarnished by heavy losses and a series of corporate scandals including the admission in 2015 that it had been falsifying its accounts for years and hiding a huge corrupt expenses network.
A shift into nuclear power also backfired disastrously when the Fukushima disaster in 2011 sparked a backlash.
Westinghouse Nuclear, which it acquired in 2006, went into administration in 2017 and Toshiba had to sell its prized memory chip business to ensure its survival.
Nobuaki Kurumatani, ironically who joined from CVC, has spearheaded the company’s recovery since taking over in 2018.
The deal with CVC would be among the largest leveraged buyouts in history but would require the Japanese government’s permission due to the company’s involvement in nuclear power.
Though its main office is in London CVC is registered in Luxembourg. The private equity fund has more than 300 investors and has invested over £115bn through deals.