Toshiba CEO resigns amid controversy over $20b buyout bid

FILE PHOTO: Toshiba Corp's CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani attends a news conference at the company's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Toshiba Corp CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani resigned on Wednesday amid controversy over a $20 billion buyout bid from CVC Capital Partners and the conglomerate’s shares surged on reports that more suitors were planning offers.

Toshiba Chairman Satoshi Tsunakawa will become chief executive, the company said in a statement.

The statement gave no reason for the resignation but Kurumatani has come under much fire over the bid from CVC, his former employer, and his testy relations with the company’s large activist shareholder base.

A news conference is planned at 12.30 local time. (0330 GMT)

His departure could upend CVC’s offer last week to take Toshiba private at a time when rival suitors are said to be weighing bids.

Private equity giant KKR & Co is considering a buyout offer that would exceed CVC’s, the Financial Times has reported, citing several people briefed on the plans.

Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc is in the preliminary stages of exploring an offer, Bloomberg News reported, citing a person with knowledge of the matter said.

A representative for KKR Japan declined to comment. Brookfield did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Sources familiar with the matter have said a CVC takeover would shield Kurumatani and other managers from pressure from activist shareholders. The activist shareholders have successfully pushed for an investigation into whether management pressured investors to support their decisions.

The sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Shares in Toshiba were trading 7% higher at 4,900 yen, not far off the 5,000 yen per share level reportedly offered by CVC Capital.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.