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Japan

End of era as Toshiba delists from Tokyo stock exchange after 74 years

user avatar Author: Editors Desk Source: The Guardian
December 20, 2023 at 07:32
Toshiba has already taken steps to try to revive itself under the new ownership. Photograph: Androniki Christodoulou/Reuters
Toshiba has already taken steps to try to revive itself under the new ownership. Photograph: Androniki Christodoulou/Reuters

Electronics firm taken private in £11bn deal by consortium led by Japan Industrial Partners

Toshiba, the Japanese company synonymous with the country’s 20th-century dominance of electronics, has delisted from the Tokyo stock exchange after 74 years.

The manufacturer, associated in the UK with its 1980s “Ello Tosh, gotta Toshiba” advertising campaign, was taken private on Wednesday in an £11bn deal by a consortium of investors led by the private equity investor Japan Industrial Partners (JIP).
 



The financial services firm Orix, the utilities provider Chubu Electric Power and the chipmaker Rohm are also part of the group.

It follows years of activist investor pressure on the company from foreign investors after turmoil started by an enormous accounting scandal that shook one of Japan’s best-known companies and raised questions about the country’s insular corporate governance model.

Toshiba has already taken steps to try to revive itself under the new ownership, including a deal with the investor Rohm to manufacture chips to control power supply to electronics. Some analysts believe the company may be broken up to try to realise more value.

Toshiba traces its roots back to a factory set up in 1875, according to a company history, less than a decade after the end of 250 years of Japanese cultural and economic isolation. The successor Shibaura Engineering Works merged with the Tokyo Electric Company in 1939 and was renamed Toshiba in 1978.

After surviving the turmoil of the second world war, Toshiba’s star rose along with the Japanese economy, which became the world’s second biggest after the US.

Toshiba’s recent troubles were first hinted at publicly in 2015, when the company opened an investigation into what was revealed to be overstatement of profits, closely followed by major problems at its nuclear technology subsidiary. That prompted share sales and the offloading of some parts of the business including the unit making flash memory chips for smartphones.

Japan’s government will be keeping a close watch. The company employs about 106,000 people and some of its operations are seen as critical to national security.

Four JIP executives will join the board, as well as one each from Orix and Chubu Electric. The new board – all of them men after the company had in the last year added some women – will be joined by a senior adviser from Toshiba’s main lender, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

In a statement, Toshiba said: “The company expresses its sincere gratitude to its shareholders and other stakeholders for their understanding and wholehearted support to the company’s management for many years since the company was listed. Toshiba Group will now take a major step toward a new future with a new shareholder.”

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