Bain Capital weighing bid to take Toshiba private: Sources

HONG KONG (REUTERS) – Bain Capital is looking at formulating a bid to acquire Toshiba Corp, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The Japanese conglomerate on Tuesday (April 20) dismissed a US$20 billion (S$26.6 billion) buyout offer from CVC Capital Partners as lacking substance but said it would consider any credible offers.

CVC had initially approached Bain about a joint bid before its offer was made public but Bain was not interested, one of the sources said.

Bain has entered into discussions with Japanese banks including the core units of Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group to secure funding, the source said.

It is unclear whether the firm will team up with co-investors but the sources did not exclude the possibility.

In 2017, the United States firm led a consortium with partners including South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix and Apple to win an intense and long-fought battle to acquire Toshiba’s chip unit, now called Kioxia Holdings.

Bain’s plans for a Toshiba bid are preliminary and could change, said the sources, who declined to be identified as the information was confidential.

Bain and CVC declined to comment. Mizuho also declined to comment, while Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Both banks are lenders to Toshiba.

Toshiba said it believed that being publicly traded provided a “capital structure suitable for enhancing long term value creation” but added that its board would not disregard various proposals, including those to take the company private.

Private equity giant KKR & Co and Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management are also looking at potential bids for Toshiba, the two sources and a separate source familiar with the situation said.

KKR declined to comment. A Brookfield representative could not be immediately reached for comment but the company has previously declined to comment on reports of a potential bid.

Toshiba shares dropped 4 per cent on Wednesday (April 21), their fourth consecutive day of decline, but are still up 8 per cent from April 6, a day before it was announced that the company was considering CVC’s offer.