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Picture: BLOOMBERG
Picture: BLOOMBERG

Blackstone is considering teaming up with KKR on a joint bid for Japanese conglomerate Toshiba, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

The two private equity firms have held exploratory talks about partnering on an offer for Toshiba, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Shares of Toshiba fell 0.4% in Tokyo trading on Wednesday, giving the company a market value of nearly $18bn. 

Toshiba could announce as soon as this week if it’s chosen additional banks to help it evaluate takeover interest, the people said. The Tokyo-based company plans to bring on JPMorgan Chase and Mizuho Financial Group to work alongside Nomura Holdings as it considers strategic alternatives including privatisation, according to the people. 

CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital have also been weighing potential offers for Toshiba, Bloomberg News has reported. CVC is speaking to several buyout firms as well as local Japanese funds, including some with state backing, about joining forces, the people said.

A buyout of Toshiba could be private equity’s biggest deal in the country. Discussions are at a preliminary stage, and the firms could decide not to move ahead with proposals, the people said. 

A representative for Toshiba referred to a previous announcement that it planned to add external advisers as necessary, declining to elaborate further. Representatives for Blackstone, JPMorgan and Mizuho declined to comment, while spokespeople for CVC and KKR didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Toshiba said on April 21 that it planned to start soliciting proposals from potential investors, and that it had hired Nomura as financial adviser. The company’s board of directors and the special committee picked UBS Group to be advised independently from the management team.

The interest from investors shows that major private equity funds see an opportunity at the troubled Japanese firm, where management and shareholders have been at odds for years over the company’s future. 

Bloomberg

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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