TOSHIBA PRESIDENT QUITS AMID ACQUISITION TALKS WITH EX-EMPLOYER
The president of Toshiba Corp. stepped down Wednesday, a week after the Japanese technology and manufacturing conglomerate said it was studying an acquisition proposal from a global fund where he previously worked, Yuri Kageyama reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Nobuaki Kurumatani tendered his resignation at a board meeting, and the board accepted, effective Wednesday, Tokyo-based Toshiba said in a statement. Kurumatani headed the Japan operations of CVC Capital Partners, which proposed the acquisition last week, before taking his post as chief executive of Toshiba in 2018.
CVC is a European private equity firm, based in Luxembourg, which has committed nearly $162 billion in funds, managing more than 300 investors. It has declined to comment on the acquisition proposal or the president’s resignation. But speculation has been growing other funds may offer better prices.
Some questions had been raised, both within and outside the Tokyo-based company, about Kurumatani leading the board discussions on the acquisition. The CVC deal is estimated to be worth 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) and will turn Toshiba private. Toshiba said it was giving it “careful consideration.”
Trading in the company’s shares was suspended when the news hit last week. Shares of Toshiba, whose sprawling business includes making elevators and railways, shot up on the CVC news, and have been trading at nearly 5,000 yen ($46). CVC is a European private equity firm, based in Luxembourg, which has committed nearly $162 billion in funds, managing more than 300 investors.
It has declined to comment on the acquisition proposal or the president’s resignation. But speculation has been growing other funds may offer better prices.
Toshiba, founded in 1875, was long revered as one of Japan’s respected brands, developing the nation’s first radar and microwaves, electric rice cookers, and laptop computers. It also invented flash memory, the ubiquitous computer chips that store and retain data for digital cameras, cell phones, and other gadgets. Toshiba no longer makes laptops, and it has sold its computer chips division.
The company’s fortunes began to crumble over its heavy investment in nuclear power. After the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, costs of the business ballooned because of growing safety concerns. Some nations are turning toward sustainable energy.
Toshiba also had massive losses from the nuclear power operations of US manufacturer Westinghouse, which Toshiba acquired in 2006 and which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017.