Blackstone and Toshiba deny buyout approach for Japanese conglomerate
By Makiko Yamazaki and David Dolan
TOKYO (Reuters) -Blackstone Inc has never approached Toshiba Corp about a potential buyout, the two companies said on Thursday, denying a media report.
Nikkei Business Publications reported on Thursday that U.S. private equity firm Blackstone had made a buyout offer for the Japanese conglomerate, citing multiple unidentified sources. It said executives of both companies met in January.
"Blackstone has never approached Toshiba about a take-private," a Blackstone spokesperson said.
"Blackstone has never submitted an informal or formal proposal, verbally or in writing, and has no plans to do so," the spokesperson added.
Toshiba said in a statement there was "no such" fact that any specific proposals, "including preliminary and initial ones were brought to Toshiba, including those from Blackstone, to take Toshiba private".
The troubled $18 billion conglomerate was once one of corporate Japan's mightiest companies before being weakened by scandal. Yet it retains a number of attractive businesses from defence equipment to semiconductors.
Toshiba has announced a revised restructuring plan that would see it split off its devices business. Previously it planned to also break off its flash memory chip unit and its energy and infrastructure business. Some investors are calling on it to resume a strategic review and solicit buyout bids.
Some shareholders, particularly foreign activist funds, have been opposed to Toshiba's plan to split, seeing greater returns in a buyout. A deal to go private would also allow shareholders to exit their investment relatively quickly, as opposed to having to wait out a break-up that could take some years.
Management has said the break-up would be the best option to maximise value.
(Reporting by David Dolan and Makiko YamazakiWriting by Elaine LiesEditing by David Goodman, Mark Potter and Susan Fenton)
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