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Japan State-Backed Fund JIC Is Said to Explore Toshiba Bid

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·2 min read
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(Bloomberg) -- State-backed investment fund Japan Investment Corp. is considering a bid for Toshiba Corp., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

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JIC has signed a confidential agreement with the Japanese conglomerate for access to detailed finances as it weighs an offer, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The state-backed fund is likely to team up with other suitors and has been approached by private equity funds pitching a joint bid, two of the people said.

Deliberations are ongoing and JIC could decide against proceeding with an offer, the people said.

Shares of Toshiba extended gains to as much as 3.3% and touched their highest level since 2008 on Wednesday after the Bloomberg News report. The stock was 2.4% higher at the close.

A representative for JIC declined to comment. A representative for Toshiba declined to comment on JIC’s interest and reiterated that several partners have signed confidentiality pledges. Toshiba will provide updates and announce the number of non-binding bids received before its annual shareholders meeting, the representative said.

Toshiba is fielding take-private proposals after its shareholders rejected a plan put forward by management to split the company. The conglomerate said this month that 10 potential investors and sponsors have signed confidentiality pacts and non-binding offers are due by May 30.

The company added JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. to help evaluate the submissions. It had already hired Nomura Holdings Inc. as an adviser. Bain Capital, Blackstone Inc., CVC Capital Partners and KKR & Co. are among buyout firms that are weighing bids for Toshiba, Bloomberg News has reported.

JIC, founded in 2018, aims to enhance Japan’s competitiveness through supporting the growth of next-generation industries and stimulating private sector investment, according to its website. The Japanese government is JIC’s majority shareholder with an investment of about 367 billion yen ($2.9 billion), while 25 investors including Asahi Kasei Corp. and Canon Inc. have contributed 13.5 billion yen in total.

A buyout of Toshiba, which has a market value of about $19.6 billion, could be private equity’s biggest ever deal in the country. The potential deal would add to the $105 billion worth of transactions targeting Japanese companies announced over the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read more: Private Equity Firms Eyeing Toshiba Buyout Face Nuclear Dilemma

(Updates Toshiba’s shares in fourth paragraph.)

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