Toshiba, an iconic fixture in Japan’s corporate world since 1875, is departing the stock market after 74 years. This decision follows a consortium led by private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) acquiring a 78.65% stake, facilitating a $14 billion deal for private acquisition.
The company’s stock market adventure started in May 1949, mirroring Japan’s post-WWII rejuvenation. Diversifying from home electronics to nuclear energy, Toshiba was instrumental in Japan’s tech ascent, pioneering the world’s first mass-market laptop in 1985.
However, recent decades saw the company grapple with corporate missteps and governance woes. A 2015 profit inflation scandal and losses in its US nuclear subsidiary, Westinghouse, led to selling its prized memory chip business in 2018 to evade bankruptcy.
Multiple takeover bids emerged, with one from the UK’s CVC Capital Partners in 2021, which Toshiba declined. Alleged collusion with the Japanese government against foreign investors further dented its image.
Efforts at reformation, like proposed breakups, were challenging. Toshiba’s board accepted JIP’s private takeover bid amidst this unrest.
Analyst Marc Einstein noted the need for a significant Toshiba reinvention, particularly after letting go of major business segments like semiconductors.
Toshiba’s move aligns with a wider trend in Japan where firms opt for privacy away from shareholder scrutiny. Gerhard Fasol of Eurotechnology Japan remarked on Toshiba’s national treasure status complicating matters.
CEO Taro Shimada voiced hope for Toshiba’s rebirth under private control, signalling a new beginning away from public scrutiny.