Artisan Partners, one of the biggest U.S. investors in Toshiba Corp., generally supports the conglomerate’s plan to separate into three companies as a vote nears on the proposal that will decide the future of the more than 140-year-old firm.

Artisan is "in principle” aligned with the proposition, Rezo Kanovich, who manages more than $9 billion in a small- and mid-cap strategy for the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based investment firm, said in a video interview. A split would make Toshiba’s sprawling business easier to manage and more understandable, Kanovich said.

The comments show that not all Toshiba’s foreign shareholders oppose the group’s separation proposal, which it announced in November after years of scandals and corporate governance issues. Activist investors have been circling the Japanese firm, with one major shareholder, 3D Investment Partners Pte., already publishing an open letter expressing misgivings about the plan.